Top 100 International Prospect Signings Of 2019
Below is our list of the top 100 international prospect signings of 2019, our most in-depth ranking ever of an international prospect class.
A few important notes about our top 100:
- The list includes players signed in 2019 since the opening of the 2019-20 international signing period on July 2, 2019. So it doesn't include players who have not signed yet, such as Venezuelan outfielder Yhoswar Garcia, who is expected to sign with the Phillies in March once he's eligible, or Cuban shortstop Yiddi Cappe, who is eligible now but is expected to sign with the Marlins when the 2020-21 signing period opens this year on July 2.
- Due to the speed of the international market, teams are often making signing decisions on players when they are 14 and 15. With players that age, a lot can change over the course of two-plus years. Some got stronger, grew taller, gained significant velocity and had other tools jump multiple grades. For some players that happened over the course of multiple years, for others it happened within a few months after they signed.
So with the benefit of hindsight that clubs don't have when they need to make signing decisions, I'm using my judgment to strike the best balance of combining our reports on how scouts viewed these players as amateurs with what the players have shown since signing. After July 2, I spent four weeks in the Dominican Republic watching games in the Tricky League and Dominican instructional league, which allowed us to see 25 of the 30 clubs, and our reports are based heavily on conversations with scouts and club personnel throughout the league incorporating those looks.
Like most typical years, the top 10-15 players established themselves as the high-end players in the class. Starting in the 20s, the spread in talent between those players and the ones in the 40s and 50s is small, and the spread in talent after that is even slimmer. There's not a huge difference between the No. 40 player and the No. 90 player, or between the player we put at No. 75 and the next group of players who could fit into the 101-150 range. Players in the middle of this list could easily flip with the ones in the back and would line up differently for clubs based on how they value different skill sets, attributes and risk levels.
To think of it another way, if every 2019 international signing became suddenly available and subject to an international draft next month, I'm confident that the players at the very top of this list would go in the first round. And I'm reasonably confident that the strong majority of players on our top 100 would be off the board within the top 100-150 picks, though the exact order (especially in second half of the list) would vary quite a bit for each club. I don't want to give a sense of false precision by extending our ranking to 100 players, but I do want to add more value for our subscribers by giving you a deeper class of players to know who have earned positive reviews from scouts and are prospects to watch entering 2020.
Here's our full top 100 with scouting reports on every player. You can also find nearly 300 scouting reports on the signing classes for all 30 clubs in our International Reviews.
Country: Dominican Republic
The Yankees committed nearly all of their bonus pool to sign Dominican center fielder Jasson Dominguez for $5.1 million, tied with Athletics shortstop Robert Puason for the highest bonus of the 2019-20 signing period. Dominguez, who trained with Ivan Noboa, is a baseball rat who combinesexplosive tools and athleticism with advanced baseball skills for a 16-year-old. He packs it all into an unusually strong, muscular frame for his age, at a relatively filled out 5-foot-10, 195 pounds. He's built like a shorter version of Yoan Moncada and his tools are comparable. He's a plus-plus runner and a quick-twitch athlete with a burst in his first step. He explodes off the bat in the outfield, taking good routes and tracking balls with ease. With his range and an accurate arm that earns plus to plus-plus grades, Dominguez has the tools for center field. He also worked out for clubs as an infielder and even as a catcher, a position he played more of as a kid, but the Yankees are committed to him in center field. Teams primarily evaluated Dominguez at Noboa's complex, where he consistently hit and hit with power against live pitching. A switch-hitter, Dominguez has explosive bat speed on an efficient swing. He has good bat path through the hitting zone, staying on plane with the pitch for a long time with good rhythm and balance. He tracks pitches well, recognizes spin and doesn't chase much, showing a mature plan and approach for his age. With a knack for being on time, Dominguez has good bat-to-ball skills and has shown the ability to square up high velocity arms. Dominguez has plus power, with exit velocities pushing the 110 mph range, and he taps into that juice in games with his feel for the barrel and ability to hit the ball in the air. He should make his pro debut in 2020 in the United States.More Less
The Dodgers signed the top 2018 prospect out of Venezuela, catcher Diego Cartaya, who immediately made a strong impression on pro scouts in his debut in the Rookie-level Arizona League, where he ranked as the AZL's No. 5 prospect. In 2019, the Dodgers again added an elite Venezuelan talent who is arguably the country's best prospect for 2019, signing 17-year-old center fielder Luis Rodriguez on July 2. Rodriguez was born and raised in Venezuela, but he spent a lot of time before signing in the Dominican Republic while training with Angel Valladares. He's a well-rounded player with potential to be an impact hitter. He combines an impressive balance of tools, game skills and athleticism with a chance to play a premium position. As an amateur in Venezuela, Rodriguez consistently hit well and hit for power in games. He has an athletic frame (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) with space to fill out. He has an outstanding swing that's compact and explodes into the hitting zone, with bat speed that helps him square up high velocity. He's calm, balanced and keeps his hands quiet, taking a direct, short path to the ball with his bat head staying through the hitting zone for a long time with good finish. That leads to a lot of barrels in games, with good bat control and a simple, all-fields approach. Rodriguez is a disciplined hitter with a sharp eye, staying within the strike zone and recognizing pitches well for his age. His ability to recognize pitches well helps him barrel both fastballs and soft pitches. Rodriguez has an exciting combination of contact and impact. He already hits for power in games, with at least average raw power now that should be plus soon, with the ability to hit home runs to the middle of the field in games already. Rodriguez has a potential impact bat with a chance to stay in center field. He's not an elite runner, but he has above-average speed with an easy gait. Some scouts thought there was risk he might get too big as he gets older and could end up on a corner, but as long as Rodriguez doesn't grow sideways and is able to retain that running ability, he should be able to stay in center field. His excellent defensive instincts help, with Rodriguez getting good reads off the bat and taking efficient routes. He glides around gracefully in center field, running balls down well from all angles and throwing with a solid-average arm.More Less
- 3Royals OFNotes:
Country: Dominican Republic
The Royals signed one of the elite players in the 2019 class, adding 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Erick Peña for $3,897,500, the fourth-highest signing bonus for a 2019 player. If everything clicks, he has a chance to develop into an impact bat in the middle of a lineup, with an exciting balance of hitting ability, power and baseball smarts. Peña trained with John Carmona and grew up playing in La Javilla little league, and his extensive game background shows in his instincts on both sides of the ball. He consistently performed well in games as an amateur, both against players his age and older competition. For his size (6-foot-3, 180 pounds), Peña has a relatively compact lefthanded swing, keeping his hands inside the ball well and his bat path through the hitting zone for a long time with good extension. He has a good eye for the strike zone with a swing and approach that enable him to drive the ball well in the air to all fields in games. Peña barrels balls at a high rate in games and already shows a knack for hanging in well against both lefties and righties. He has strong hands and a ton of space to add muscle to his projectable frame, with flashes of above-average raw power that should only spike, giving him a chance to become a plus or better hitter with 30-plus homers. Peña's offensive upside profiles well in an outfield corner, which is his most likely landing spot, though the Royals are going to develop him as a center fielder. He moves well for his size and got faster leading up to July 2, showing average speed underway. That's not ideal speed for center field and he may slow down as he fills out, but his fielding instincts are advanced for his age. He's a diligent worker on his defense and it shows in his reads and routes. With a solid-average arm, Peña has the ingredients to develop into a plus defender in right field. Off the field, seemingly everyone who interacts with Peña raves about him, whether it's his peers, older players or baseball lifers. A fluent English speaker, he's extremely poised and mature for his age, a leader other players gravitate toward with an outgoing yet even-keeled personality. Peña came over to Arizona after signing and stayed for instructional league, where he was roommates with Bobby Witt Jr., and he's expected to be back there for his pro debut in 2020 in the Rookie-level Arizona LeagueMore Less
Signed out of Roberto Vahlis' program in Venezuela, Maximo Acosta is a well-rounded shortstop who has a mix of plus tools without any glaring holes. He's 6-foot-1, 170 pounds and plays with a calmness and ease of operation on both sides of the ball, drawing comparisons to Gleyber Torres both physically and in terms of his skill set. His swing is quick, compact and fluid, with good rhythm, balance and timing. Acosta is a disciplined hitter who tracks spin well and makes frequent contact, barreling pitches in all quadrants of the strike zone. He makes adjustments, uses the whole field and has a chance to be a plus hitter. As he's added strength the last couple years to go with his bat speed, Acosta has at least average power now (he hit seven balls out in BP when he went to Arlington after signing) that should be above-average soon, with a good chance of that power translating in games because of his pure hitting ability and approach. Acosta has a bigger lower half than some other shortstops his age, but he projects to stick at the position. His speed and arm strength are both plus tools. He's a fundamentally sound defender for his age with a knack for slowing the game down. Acosta has a good internal clock, reads hops well and generally makes smart decisions in the field, where he has good footwork, range and athleticism. He's advanced enough to make his pro debut in 2020 in the United States.More Less
Country: Dominican Republic
The Athletics spent nearly all of their 2019-20 international bonus pool on one player in the Dominican Republic. They gave $5.1 million to shortstop Robert Puason, whose bonus was tied with Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez for the largest of the signing period. Puason originally had an agreement to sign with the Braves when he was 14, but that never came to fruition because Major League Baseball hammered the Braves with penalties for a variety of international signing violations. MLB said those penalties stemmed, in part, from the Braves agreeing to sign Puason in a package deal, with the Braves signing other players from Puason's program to artificially inflated bonuses as a condition for being able to land Puason. He has some of the best raw tools and athleticism in the 2019 class. He's a lean, long-limbed, sleek athlete at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds with plus speed and an arm that's at least a plus tool, with a chance that could tick up as he gains strength. He's a fast-twitch athlete who accelerates quickly and projects to stick at shortstop. Puason has good defensive actions, though he's still learning to improve his internal clock and routes in games. Puason is a premium athlete at a premium position who some scouts considered the top prospect in the Dominican Republic this year, though there is risk in his bat. The A's saw him consistently put the ball in play and make hard contact against live pitching. Others saw a hitter with long arms who would have to shorten his stroke and improve his pitch recognition, as he showed tendencies to chase and lose his balance against offspeed stuff. Puason has mostly gap power now, but with his bat speed and wiry strength, that should increase in the next few years. After signing, Puason went straight to the United States and shadowed the A's Rookie-level Arizona League team. He couldn't play in those games yet, but he racked up a lot of at-bats every week in simulated games against Frankie Montas, who was there during his 80-game suspension for a banned substance, and enrolled in an intensive English-language program at Arizona State. He's ticketed to return to Arizona for spring training and is expected to play in the AZL in 2020, though he might get his first at-bats of the year in the Dominican Summer League. He trained with J.D. Ozuna.More Less
Country: Dominican Republic
The Rangers spent their biggest signing bonus of the year ($3.9 million) on Dominican outfielder Bayron Lora, a massive slugger (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) with the biggest raw power in the 2019 international class. Lora, who trained with Hector Evertz, has 70 raw power on the 20-80 scale, hitting balls over the fence with ease and producing impressive carry off his bat even when he mis-hits balls. He has strength and bat speed that have produced exit velocities up to 112 mph already, with a chance to grow into top-of-the-scale power once he enters his physical prime, making him a potential 40-homer type threat. Lora's power brings monster upside, and while he has shown the ability to translate that power with home runs in games, it comes with risk in his swing-and-miss tendencies. As an amateur, Lora would get pull-heavy trying to swing for the fences, causing him to pull off the ball and leading to empty swings. He has shown signs of improving the quality of his at-bats in an effort to shorten his stroke and take a more middle-of-the-field approach. Compared to outfielders Julio Rodriguez (Mariners) and Jhailyn Ortiz (Phillies), two of the biggest power bats from recent classes, Lora has comparable raw power to both when they signed, with less pure hitting ability than Rodriguez but more than Ortiz and with a better body than Ortiz. Lora is so big already that there's some risk he ends up at first base, but he's doing to develop as a right fielder. Most of his focus as an amateur was in the batter's box, so he's learning to improve his reads and routes. If Lora can draw walks and keep his strikeouts to a manageable level, he has the potential to be a masher in the middle of a lineup. The Dominican Summer League is likely his first stop.More Less
Country: Dominican Republic
Dominican shortstop Adael Amador signed with the Rockies for $1.5 million on July 2. Amador has a good balance of solid tools and game skills with an impressive track record of hitting. He won a gold medal with the Dominican Republic in August 2017 at the COPABE 15U Pan American Championship, where he made the all-tournament team by hitting .500 (12-for-24) on a roster of mostly 2018 players. He played in 2018r in the U-15 World Cup in Panama, where he batted .391/.533/.565 with seven walks and three strikeouts in 30 plate appearances. Amador (6-foot-0,160 pounds) doesn't have the pure speed or quick-twitch athleticism like some of the other top shortstops in the class, but he's an advanced hitter with a fairly clean swing from both sides of the plate. It's a simple, compact swing with good balance. He recognizes pitches well and has good plate discipline for his age, which combined with his bat control leads to a low strikeout rate. He adjusts when he gets to two-strike counts, but Amador's approach is to try to drive the ball for extra-base damage. His power has ticked up over the past year, going from mostly doubles pop to now being able to drive the ball over the fence, both in batting practice and games. With his strong hands, bat speed and some physical projection remaining, Amador should develop at least average power. Amador was a below-average runner when many teams were scouting him as an amateur, but that tool has ticked up to average. He has a chance to stay at shortstop, though some scouts expected him to move off the position, and he will likely see time at both shortstop and second base this year. He reacts well off the bat and shows good defensive instincts with a quick exchange to an average arm that flashes better on occasion. The Rockies don't have a team in the Rookie-level Arizona League and typically have started all their Latin American signings in the Dominican Summer League, but Amador is advanced enough that he might go straight to the short-season Northwest League. He trained with Cristian Pimentel.More Less
Venezuelan outfielder Hedbert Perez is one of the elite talents from the 2019 class, with an exciting combination of athleticism, tools and advanced baseball skills on both sides of the ball for 16. He trained with his father, Robert Perez, an outfielder who played six seasons in the big leagues mostly with the Blue Jays from 1994-2001. Hedbert Perez is one of the best hitters in the 2019 class and projects to stay at a premium position. He's 5-foot-11, 180 pounds with a compact, efficient swing from the left side, a high-contact hitter who barrels balls to all fields. It's an easy stroke and he controls the strike zone well, laying off close pitches and working himself into favorable counts, with a chance to develop into a plus hitter. He has at least 55 raw power—he hit balls into the second deck at Miller Park in batting practice when the Brewers brought him there in July after signing—and it should be consistently plus or better power in the future. With his approach and contact frequency, it's power that he should be able to tap into in games. He has consistently performed at a high level in games, both as an amateur in Venezuela and since signing between Tricky League and instructional league. When Perez started training in his dad's program at 14, he had good mechanics at the plate and in the field, but he was 5-foot-9, skinny and a 7.5 runner in the 60-yard dash. As he's gotten stronger, he has sliced a full second off his 60 time, showing at least plus speed now. He's an excellent athlete who should be able to maintain that speed, and it plays up in center field because of his instincts. Perez reads balls well off the bat, accelerates quickly and takes sharp routes with good body control and closing speed in center. He's a potential above-average defender with a plus arm, with good carry and accuracy on his throws. Perez is also a fluent English speaker who draws praise for his confidence and leadership skills.More Less
The Angels added one of the premium players available this year, signing Venezuelan shortstop Arol Vera on July 2. Vera, represented by Felix Olivo, is a large-framed shortstop who has grown to 6-foot-3, 187 pounds with advanced game skills for his age. He's a switch hitter who performed well in games in Venezuela, with good rhythm and balance from both sides of the plate. He has an extra hand wiggle to get his swing started, but he's consistently on time with good bat path through the hitting zone. He does a good job of controlling the strike zone and putting together quality at-bats. Vera has grown taller and gotten stronger over the past year, making him a more physical player who's starting to hit the ball over the fence with the projection to grow into plus power. Vera offers considerable upside, though whether he stays at shortstop is more of a question. A fringe-average runner, Vera is already big and looks like he might end up at third base, but his defense has improved over the past year to give him a chance at shortstop. Vera reads swings, tracks the ball well off the bat well and has a knack for reading hops, but he will need to improve his first-step quickness to have the range for shortstop, especially as he fills out. His arm strength has improved to become a solid-average tool, with a quick release and comfort dropping down to make throws from different angles.More Less
Country: Dominican Republic
One of the top international prospects in the 2019 class, Jhon Diaz was initially expected to sign with the Yankees. But when the Yankees weren't able to come up with more bonus pool money to sign Diaz, he ended up signing with the Rays instead for $1.5 million. Diaz is diminutive (5-foot-8, 160 pounds) but has an exciting combination of tools and refined baseball skills for his age. He has the potential to be a plus hitter at the top of a lineup, showing good bat control and strike-zone judgment and the ability to consistently barrel balls all over the field in games, squaring up all types of pitches with good plate coverage. Diaz puts a surprising charge into the ball for his size, driving the ball out of the park already in BP with signs of average power and a strong chance to tap into it during games because of his pure hitting ability. Diaz has the tools to play center field, with his speed and arm strength both grading above-average. He has an extremely high baseball IQ for his age, with instincts that stand out in the field, at the plate and running the bases. He's advanced enough that he could skip the Dominican Summer League and go straight to the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He trained with German Rosario.More Less
- 11Mets RHPNotes:
The most remarkable signing in the class is a pitcher, 6-foot-4, 200-pound Venezuelan righthander Robert Dominguez, who flew under the radar but has seen his stock skyrocket in the past six months. Dominguez, who turned 18 on Nov. 30, was eligible to sign in 2018, but he wasn't drawing much attention there. By this summer, he was throwing 93 mph and getting $10,000 offers (bonuses of $10,000 or less are exempt from the international bonus pools). He moved to the Dominican Republic and spent two months training there, making mechanical adjustments and getting stronger, to the point where his fastball jumped to 97 mph. He signed with the Mets, then at the end of Dominican instructional league, he reached 99 mph just before his 18th birthday. By comparison, Dominguez's peer group in the United States is comprised of 2020 high school seniors. There are only two pitcher in the 2020 class who have reached 99 mph. One is Jared Jones, a righthander from La Mirada (Calif.) HS and the No. 22 prospect in the 2020 high school class. The other is Jared Kelley, a righthander from Texas and the No. 1 overall high school prospect for 2020. There's more than just pure velocity, and a lot less history and background with Dominguez compared to Kelley, Jones or other more heavily scouting prep arms like Masyn Winn or Alejandro Rosario, each of whom have touched 98 mph and are potential first-rounders. That doesn't mean Dominguez is that level of pitcher, but his fastball stacks up among the best in the world for his age. He has a strong, durable frame and shows feel for a breaking ball with late diving action that flashes as an average pitch with a chance to be better and develop into a true out pitch, along with a below-average changeup he will need to bring up. Dominguez trained with Angel Valladares.More Less
The Padres signed the top 2019 prospect from Panama, 16-year-old Reggie Preciado, a long, lanky shortstop (6-foot-4, 185 pounds) who got $1.3 million. He trained with his father, Victor Preciado, who spent a few years playing the outfield and first base in Rookie ball with the Yankees in the 1990s. Reggie is tall and skinny but has a knack for being on time at the plate, something he showed consistently in games as an amateur. That includes the U-15 World Cup in Panama in August 2018, when Preciado led his country to a silver medal on its home field. He made the all-tournament team at shortstop, hitting .393/.452/.500. In 2019, he raked in Panama's junior national league for 17-and-under players as a 15-year-old, ranking third in the league in OPS. He has continued to hit well in games since then between Tricky League and Dominican instructional league. He's a long-levered batter, so there is some length and unorthodox components to Preciado's swing, but he has a good clock for the game that shows up in the field and in the batter's box. Preciado makes a lot of contact and puts together quality at-bats with ability to discern a ball from a strike. His lefthanded swing is shorter, whereas his righthanded swing has more length but also spends more time in the hitting zone and produces more power. Preciado isn't a huge slugger right now, but he has immense physical upside to grow into big power. Much of Preciado's future depends on his physical development, which could go a variety of ways. Preciado could blow up, get huge and end up at third base or an outfield corner. He could also add strength, remain athletic and be a physical shortstop built along the lines of Corey Seager or Carlos Correa. A fringe-average runner, Preciado has good glovework in the field, charges slow rollers well and plays under control with a knack for slowing the game down. He has long arms but a short throwing stroke with average arm strength that should increase once he puts on weight. Preciado's body and tools could look markedly different in a few years, with different paths for him to develop into a high-level prospect. He also graduated from high school in December in Panama at 16 and earns high praise for his leadership and intelligence on and off the field.More Less
- 13Marlins SSNotes:
Miami's top international signing was born in the home state of the Marlins. Jose Salas, a 16-year-old shortstop, grew up and went to school in Orlando. Before high school, Salas moved to Venezuela, worked out for clubs there, then went to the Dominican Republic before signing with the Marlins on July 2. At 6-foot-2, 178 ponds, Salas has size, speed and athleticism. He's a lean, quick-twitch athlete with plus speed, running 6.5 to 6.6 seconds in 60-yard dash as an amateur. With his size, he might lose some of that as he fills out, but he also has ample physical upside to grow into more strength and power. He already drives the ball well, with a fast bat and a chance for average or better power. Scouts were mixed on Salas' pure hitting ability, as some thought he got too mechanical with his swing and was up and down with his game performance, but others liked his approach and ability to drive the ball to the middle of the field. At shortstop, Salas has quick reactions off the bat and a strong arm at shortstop. Some scouts liked his internal clock at shortstop and thought he had a chance to stay at the position. Others thought he was more erratic in the field and might end up moving to center field with his speed, with another possibility being that Salas gets so big that he outgrows shortstop and ends up somewhere else in the infield. Given how advanced he is and his background growing up in the United States, there's a chance Salas could skip the Dominican Summer League and make his pro debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.More Less
- 14Cubs CNotes:
The Cubs had a relatively smaller, focused class centered around three players in the 2019-20 period. One of those signings was Ronnier Quintero, a Venezuelan catcher who trained in the Dominican Republic with Jaime Ramos. Quintero is an offensive-minded catcher with big power from the left side coming from his strong frame. His swing generates lift while his above-average bat speed and strength produce hard, loud contact, producing plus raw power now that could potentially still rise as he gets into his prime. Quintero has an advanced ability to drive the ball with impact from left-center over to his pull side, both in batting practice and in games. He keeps his hands inside the ball well to use the opposite field gap or turn on balls when he needs to. If everything clicks for Quintero, he has a chance to be a catcher who hits in the middle of a lineup. Scouts from other clubs were much more skeptical of Quintero's chances to stay behind the plate due to his receiving skills, though many of those looks are now a couple years old. The Cubs were higher on Quintero's defensive ability and felt he would stay at catcher. He has plenty of raw arm strength with a 60 arm.More Less
Most of Detroit's 2019-20 international bonus pool money went to three players. The Tigers' top bonus went to 16-year-old Cuban outfielder Roberto Campos, who signed for $2.85 million, the sixth-highest bonus of any player this year and the most for a 2019 Cuban signing. After leaving Cuba, Campos went to the Dominican Republic and trained with his brother Raul (a 2018 Marlins signing) in San Pedro de Macoris near the Tigers academy, so the Tigers saw a lot of him in the evaluation process. He's 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, adding size and strength over the past 18 months. Plus power is his calling card, with the strength and bat speed to drive the ball out to any part of the park in BP with deep blasts to the middle of the field. There are some strikeouts that come with Campos' power, but he's not just an all-or-nothing swinger. He has a good eye at the plate, recognizing breaking pitches and staying disciplined in the strike zone for his age. That approach and knack for lifting the ball should help his power translate in games. Campos initially worked out as an infielder, but he transitioned to the outfield before signing. He's a corner outfielder who is still learning the position, but his speed improved to become an average runner underway, though he may slow down given his body type. A lot of Cuban signings have been making their debuts in the Dominican Summer League recently, and that might be where Campos gets his start in 2020.More Less
- 16Padres OFNotes:
Country: Dominican Republic
The Padres paid $2.2 million to sign 17-year-old Dominican center fielder Ismael Mena, who trained with Rudy Santin. Mena is a lefty with a lean, sleek frame (6-foot-3, 185 pounds) and quick-burst athleticism. He's a 70 runner with good range in center field, with an arm that has shot up from a 30 or 40 tool when teams were scouting him as an amateur and now grades out as plus. Mena has good range too, so while his reads and routes can be inconsistent, he has the tools to develop into a plus defender at a premium position. At the plate, Mena stays behind the ball well and shows good contact skills. He employs a slashing, line-drive approach, spraying the ball around the field and using his wheels to his advantage. There's some upside to Mesa's body, but he still lacks strength at this point. By the end of the summer, he started to flash over-the-fence power and there's leverage in his swing that could bring out more pop down the road, but it might never be a big part of his game.More Less
Country: Dominican Republic
Alexander Ramirez, a Dominican outfielder, received the biggest bonus from the Mets this year, signing for $2.05 million. Ramirez has one of the best combinations of physicality, athleticism and raw tools in the class. He's tall and athletic (6-foot-3, 170 pounds), with high-end strength projection and plenty of room to add weight while still staying lean and agile for center field. He's a potential/power speed threat, with plus speed and an average arm that could still get stronger. As long as Ramirez doesn't get too big and retains his running ability, he should be able to stay up the middle as a physical center fielder. Ramirez has good bat speed and can already take balls out to his pull side, with the physical projection to eventually grow into plus power. While Ramirez is tooled up, there was a split camp on how much he would eventually hit. The Mets liked his barrel control, but he's a long-armed hitter, with other clubs having concerns about the length in his swing and timing at the plate. Ramirez trained with El Niche.More Less
- 18Indians SSNotes:
Cleveland's top international signing in 2019 was Jose Pastrano, a Venezuelan shortstop who trained in the Dominican Republic with Banana and the younger brother of Athletics infielder Jose Pastrano, who spent the last two years in the Dominican Summer League. Pastrano stood out for his quickness, excellent athleticism and overall game awareness at a premium position. He's a plus runner who projects to stay at shortstop, where he has quick hands and feet, good body control and has shown flashes of above-average arm strength as well. Pastrano shows attributes to hit from both sides of the plate as well, though some clubs left wanting to see more performance from him as an amateur. He has a short, direct swing and good feel for the strike zone. He has good contact skills with a line-drive, all-fields approach and gap power. Pastrano isn't that big, but he does have the physical projection for more of those doubles to eventually climb over the fence, but his offensive profile will probably be tilted more toward his on-base ability over his power.More Less
- 19Twins OFNotes:
Country: Dominican Republic
In 2019, the Twins' top bonus went to Emmanuel Rodriguez, a Dominican outfielder who signed for $2.5 million. Rodriguez has a simple, low maintenance swing from the left side, with quiet hands and a direct cut to the ball. As an amateur, Rodriguez would at times get pull-heavy trying to swing for the fences, but he's done a better job staying through the ball and using the whole field since then, driving the ball well to the left-center field gap during batting practice and even hitting an opposite field home run during a game in the Dominican instructional league. At 5-foot-11, 200 pounds, Rodriguez has packed on significant strength since teams scouted him as an amateur, with his power increasing to flash above-average now. He ran well at his best as an amateur, but he has slowed to average and will probably settle in as a below-average runner as he gets bigger. For now, the Twins will develop him as a center fielder, but he figures to move to a corner spot, with an above-average arm that would fit in right field to go with good instincts for his age. The Twins have been starting all of their players in the Dominican Summer League, so Rodriguez is expected to debut there in 2020. Rodriguez trained with Chico Fana, whose program in 2017 had shortstop Jelfry Marte, who signed with the Rays after the Twins voided their $3 million deal with him due to an issue with Marte's vision.More Less
- 20Cubs SSNotes:
Country: Dominican Republic
Kevin Made, a Dominican shortstop who trained in the same program as catcher Ronnier Quintero (another 2019 Cubs signing), landed a $1.5 million bonus from the Cubs. While Quintero is big and strong already, Made has a wiry, high-waist build (6-foot-1, 160 pounds) with long limbs. Despite that lack of present physical development, Made has quick hands and strong wrists, putting a surprising charge into the ball to take the ball over the fence already. He has hit well in games from the right side of the plate with a high contact rate thanks to his hand-eye coordination and a selective approach for his age. Made is a near average runner who should be able to stick at shortstop. He has good instincts at the position, charges the ball well and makes accurate throws from different angles. His arm is already flashing plus and, with his long arms and space to fill out, he could end up with a 70 arm once he packs on more weight.More Less
- 21Astros SSNotes:
Country: Dominican Republic
Houston's top international bonus in the 2019 class went to Dauri Lorenzo, a switch-hitting shortstop from the Dominican Republic out of the Otro Nivel program who got $1.8 million. At 6-foot-1, 165 pounds, Lorenzo is an offensive-minded shortstop who stands out for his smooth, efficient swing mechanics from both sides of the plate. Lorenzo has an innate feel for the barrel, with good hand-eye coordination and an easy swing that stays on plane through the hitting zone for a long time, leading to a lot of contact in games. He has quick hands and uses them well in his swing. Even when he flies open early, he does a good job of keeping his hands back with the adjustability in his swing to still make contact. Lorenzo's offensive value projects to come more from his on-base skills than his power, with a line-drive approach and mostly doubles power right now. Lorenzo is an offensive-oriented shortstop who has some questions on whether he will stay at the position, though he has made progress there. He's athletic with solid-average speed and arm strength. He doesn't have the explosive first-step quickness or natural defensive instincts a lot of teams look for in a shortstop, but his defensive actions have shown improvement, giving him a better chance to stay at shortstop rather than move to second base or center field. Lorenzo is expected to make his pro debut n the Dominican Summer LeagueMore Less
- 22Blue Jays SSNotes:
One of the most promising players the Blue Jays added in 2019 is Estiven Machado, a Venezuelan shortstop who trained with Carlos Rios. Machado has a promising blend of explosive athleticism, tools and advanced game skills for his age with the ability to play a premium position. At 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, Machado has a direct, compact swing from both sides of the plate and a good approach, leading to a high contact rate. It's an efficient stroke with fast bat speed, showing gap power now with the bat speed and strength projection to potentially develop average pop. He's around an average runner now, and while speed is a tricky tool to project up, that could end up happening with Machado given his explosiveness and running gait. Machado is a notch behind fellow Blue Jays 2019 shortstop Rikelvin de Castro as a defender, but he also projects to stick at shortstop. He has a quick first step and moves his feet well, with the range for the position and secure hands as well. His arm is a slightly above-average tool that's tickling plus and should be there consistently in the near future.More Less
The Giants landed another deep international signing class led by Venezuelan shortstop Aeverson Arteaga, who trained with Luis Blasini. Arteaga shows a balanced skill set on both sides of the ball and projects to stay at shortstop. Arteaga's father played professional basketball in Venezuela and he inherited that athleticism, which is evident at shortstop. He's 6-foot-1, 170 pounds with plus speed and good body control in the field. He has quick hands and good instincts, reading the ball well off the bat and finishing plays with an above-average arm, giving him a chance to develop into an above-average fielder. As an amateur in Venezuela, Arteaga showed good bat-to-ball skills from the right side of the plate, making a lot of contact with gap power, with the potential to grow into 15-20 home run power. While the Giants pushed Luciano straight to the Rookie-level Arizona League for his pro debut, Arteaga and the rest of the Giants' 2019 signings will likely open in the Dominican Summer League.More Less
- 24Padres RHPNotes:
Brayan Medina was one of the top pitchers in the 2019 class, a Venezuelan righthander who could end up throwing 100 mph one day. He has already had multiple outings where he has reached 95 mph, with fast arm speed, physicality (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) and athleticism on the mound. Medina pairs his fastball with the ability to spin a sharp-breaking slider that shows signs of developing into an above-average out pitch to miss bats. Medina has feel for a changeup with fade that gives him a promising three-pitch mix. He's en energetic pitcher who can get too amped up at times, causing him to fly open early and lose the strike zone at times, but he has the athleticism and aptitude to make adjustments.More Less
Milwaukee's biggest bonus for 2019 went to Luis Medina, a Venezuelan outfielder who trained with Alexi Quiroz. He has a big frame (6-foot-2, 170 pounds) and some of the biggest power in the 2019 class. It's at least plus raw power and shows flashes of better, with a chance for 70 power. Medina generates that impact with a loose lefty swing, using his hands well with solid strike-zone judgment for his age. Like a lot of young hitters with huge power, Medina can get pull-happy, drifting his weight out front early and pulling off the ball, which leads to some swing and miss. Even when he does, his hands and barrel awareness are good enough at times to still connect, but staying through the ball better will help him cover pitches on the outer third better. An average runner, Medina does have good defensive instincts in center field, his range will probably lead him to a corner, especially as he fills out. He has the tools to be a good defender in right field, with a 55 arm that could tick up to plus.More Less