International Reviews: New York Mets




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Baseball America's annual International Reviews provide scouting reports on every team's top international amateur signings from the 2012 calendar year, as well as a look at any notable signings from the Cuban market.


See also: 2011 National League East International Review


New York Mets

Top signing: SS Amed Rosario, Dominican Republic, $1.75 million.
Six-figure signings: LHP Adrian Almeida (Venezuela), RHP Ronald Guedez (Venezuela), SS Franklin Correa (Dominican Republic), SS Miguel Patino (Venezuela), RHP Nicolas Debora (Dominican Republic), RHP Marcos Molina (Dominican Republic).

Before he became the Mets general manager, Sandy Alderson was in charge of helping the league implement reforms in Latin America. When he made his first hire for the Mets' international scouting director, it was notable that he chose Chris Becerra, who previously had no experience working in Latin America.

In their first year under Becerra, the Mets on July 2 signed Dominican shortstop Amed Rosario for $1.75 million, the biggest bonus of the 2012-13 international signing period. It was the second year in a row in which a player who grew up playing in La Javilla youth league in Santo Domingo was the top paid amateur player in Latin America. The year before it was outfielder Nomar Mazara, who was a teammate in the league with Rosario, but because Mazara was born six months before Rosario, he was eligible to sign in 2011 before the new restrictions on international bonuses kicked in last year and got $4.95 million from the Rangers. Rosario, who turned 17 in November, trained with John Carmona, the president of La Javilla, and also worked with Ellis Pena, a former scout known as "PeƱita" who was fired by the Pirates.

Despite his lofty bonus, Rosario was one of the most divisive players among scouts. Rosario has a long, lanky 6-foot-2, 175-pound body without much muscle, yet he's still able to generate impressive power with his bat speed from the right side. He hit well at the MLB showcase last year in February and some teams saw him hit well in game situations. His doubters point to an upright stance, a high leg kick that gets him out front on offspeed pitches and leads to some swing and miss with an uppercut stroke. He played in the Tricky League (an unofficial league for July 2 signings) last summer after after signing and showed some adjustments corralling his leg kick and using the opposite field.

Rosario is athletic, but scouts are divided on his future defensive home. Those highest on Rosario see him as a potential shortstop with quick actions, good instincts and a strong arm. He's an average runner with a lot of room to add good weight to his frame, so depending how big he gets, he might have to move to third base. Some scouts weren't as sold on Rosario's actions and thought he might be a better fit in a corner outfield spot.

Scouts universally laud Rosario's makeup, background and work ethic. Rosario graduated from high school and his father, who has been a lawyer and a judge, was influential in the signing. He has two sisters who live in New York, one of whom a law school graduate, while the other is currently in law school. His mother also has a cousin who is married to Brewers scout Rafael Espinal. He's expected to make his debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.

In August, the Mets added Venezuelan righthander Ronald Guedez for $170,000. Guedez, who turned 17 in January, has a thin 6-foot-1, 170-pound frame, a loose arm and an easy delivery. He needs to sharpen his control, but he throws 88-92 mph with the potential to have power shape to his curveball once it gets more consistent, and he already shows feel for his changeup.

Dominican shortstop Franklin Correa was a July 2 signing for $155,000. Correa's short but strong at 5-foot-9, 180 pounds and improved his conditioning over the past year. The 17-year-old has an easy righthanded swing that produces line drives to all fields with gap power. He has a calm demeanor and slows the game down with a good internal clock in the field. He has sure hands and a plus arm, but with his below-average speed and body type, he might have to move off the position eventually. Some scouts think he might be a fit at catcher, but the Mets plan to start him as an infielder.

Venezuelan shortstop Miguel Patino, who trained with Carlos Rios, signed for $135,000 on July 2. Patino is a wiry 5-foot-10, 155 pounds with surprising strength for his size. He projects as a true shortstop with excellent footwork and plus hands. He's an average runner who could get faster and shows good baserunning instincts. Patino had an unorthodox setup at the plate when he signed, but even with those mechanics he didn't swing and miss much. After signing he made some adjustments. He had a fairly open stance and had a tendency to hook balls, but he squared his feet up, brought his hands closer to his body and started to have more success. With his size, power probably won't be a big part of his game.

Before July 2, the Mets signed Venezuelan lefthander Adrian Almeida for $170,000. Almeida, 17, made 12 starts in the Dominican Summer League and held down a 2.50 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 24 walks over 39 2/3 innings. Almeida threw 84-87 mph when he signed, but since then he's been up to 91. At 6 feet, 150 pounds, he's not big but with his arm speed and skinny build he could add more velocity. Almeida's separator is his curveball, a very advanced pitch for his age. His changeup also shows some promise when he stays through it instead of letting it run away from his arm and leaving it up. He had some issues throwing strikes in the DSL, but he's made strides in that area.

The Mets signed Almeida and Dominican righthander Marcos Molina in January of 2012. Molina, a 17-year-old who signed for $100,000 from Ivan Noboa's program, threw well in the DSL, where he had a 3.58 ERA with 40 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 55 1/3 innings. Molina signed at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, but he quickly grew and got up to 6-foot-3, 195 pounds. The ball comes out of Molina's hand smoothly and he repeats his delivery, which enables him to throw plenty of strikes. He has a short stride, throws his fastball 88-92 mph and has an above-average changeup. His curveball is his third-best pitch, but he lowered his slot a bit to give it more of a slider look. Molina earns high praise for his work ethic, as he's known for beating coaches to the field.

Dominican righthander Nicolas Debora, who signed for $115,000 in April, is more of a raw project than the other Mets arms even though he's older than them. Debora, who turned 19 in December, pitched very briefly in the DSL because he had to serve a 50-game suspension after testing positive for Stanzolol, an anabolic steroid often sold as Winstrol. Debora, who trained with Edwin Sabater, is 6-foot-5, 170 pounds with a loose arm and long extension. He's touched 92 mph, but his fastball has backed up to the high-80s with more sink and life now. His changeup is his best secondary pitch. His breaking ball morphs between a curveball and a slider depending on his release point, with better action as a slider when he hits it from a high to mid three-quarters slot rather than coming from close to over the top. Debora is still cleaning up some things with his mechanics to be able to repeat his release point, which will help him throw more strikes and give more consistency to his stuff.