July 2 Notebook

Garcia, Andujar drawing interest in Latin America




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Notes from around Latin America with the commencement of the international signing period beginning on Saturday . . .

• The two top-paid catchers in Latin America this year are expected to be a pair of Venezuelans: Jose Ruiz and Marck Malave. Ruiz, who has been tied to the Padres, has a projectable 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame, is an advanced defensive catcher and has shown projectable raw power. There is debate among scouts about his bat, but most scouts have said his hitting will need time to catch up to his defense. Malave's thicker frame doesn't have as much projection as Ruiz's, but he is a switch-hitting catcher with a strong arm. Malave had been linked to the Reds for much of the spring, but international sources more recently have connected the Cubs to Malave.

Jose Garcia doesn't have the hype that his countrymen Ruiz and Malave have, but he's one of the better all-around catchers in this year's class. Garcia, a 16-year-old switch-hitter from San Felipe, is 5-foot-11, 185 pounds with good catch-and-throw skills and a solid, line-drive swing. His doesn't have the arm strength of Ruiz or Malave, but his quick release helps his average arm play up. Several sources have said the Mets have been following Garcia closely since last year and are believed to be the favorites to sign him.

• Another Venezuela catcher getting some attention is Jose Godoy, a 16-year-old lefthanded hitter from Maracaibo who trains with former Yankees international scouting director Carlos Rios. Godoy, who is 5-foot-10, 160 pounds, has a contact-oriented stroke and gap power with solid catch-and-throw skills. Godoy has been linked to the Cardinals.

• One of the Yankees' top targets appears to be Miguel Andujar, a Dominican third baseman who trains with Basilio Vizcaino (known as Cachasa). A 16-year-old out of San Cristobal, Andujar has quick hands and has hit in games, including youth tournaments representing his country as a member of the Dominican national selection team. He has good bat speed, an advanced righthanded swing and has shown the ability to hit both fastballs and offspeed pitches.

• Another third baseman with a good stroke is Venezuela's Ricardo Marcano. At around 6-foot-2, Marcano might have to move to the outfield, but scouts have praised his swing, with one Latin American director calling it "a classic lefthanded swing with power."

• The Red Sox and Yankees have both shown interest in Dominican center fielder Manuel Marcos, who has been in Boston's Dominican academy this month. Marcos, 16, is one of the best athletes in Latin America with plus-plus speed and above-average defensive tools.

• Multiple sources have said the Indians have shown interest in Dominican shortstop Dorssys Paulino. Though he will likely move off the position, Paulino is one of the better hitters among infielders for this year's July 2 class with quick hands, consistent contact and average power potential.

• According to multiple sources, the Yankees are still waiting to get visas for Dominican righthanders Jose Rafael DePaula and Juan Carlos Paniagua. DePaula, who agreed to terms for $500,000 in November, had an interview with the U.S. Consulate last month. He had previously served a one-year suspension from MLB for misrepresenting his age and identity. He is 20, according to his new paperwork. Paniagua agreed to terms with the Yankees for $1.1 million in March after serving a one-year suspension, though his age (21) hasn't changed, only his last name.

• At a showcase run by the Arias and Goodman academy in the Dominican Republic on June 18, scouts started asking questions about a new pitcher who showed up throwing 98 mph. As it turns out, the pitcher—6-foot-2, 220-pound righthander Enmanuel Cedano—isn't so new. Cedano was an outfielder three years ago when the Astros signed him in August 2008 and immediately put him on the mound. Cedano spent two years pitching in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and racked up a 9.75 ERA in 26 2/3 innings as he battled his control, though he was better in 2010 with a 4.50 ERA 18 strikeouts and 13 walks in 18 innings.

Cedano, 21, was still with the Astros in extended spring training this year until they released him on April 29. According to a source who saw him this spring, Cedano threw up to 95 mph but was also extremely wild. His velocity has increased since the Astros released him, though he's still more of a thrower than a pitcher and his secondary stuff is well behind his fastball. He won't get Paniagua money, but he's likely to get a second chance with another organization.