Image credit: Jhon Diaz (Photo by Mike Janes)
Yet when they signed as teenagers, neither of them had the electric tool sets they now possess. Both added multiples grades of power and got significantly faster after they signed, gaining more strength and explosiveness to develop into the players they are today.
So when we’re looking for first-year international signings with the combination of power/speed potential, whether it’s for real-world value or a first-year player draft in a fantasy league, in many cases, those players might not be the 6.5 runners or 60 raw power hitters right now. But there are several first-year players from the 2019 international class who show the present tools or project to get to tools that could give them the ability to impact a game with both power and speed.
Jasson Dominguez, OF, Yankees: Dominguez is the No. 1 international signing from the 2019 class and he has the best combination of power and speed in the group. There are other players who can match Dominguez on either raw speed or power, but Dominguez separates himself with his ability to apply that whole package in games, drawing high marks from scouts for his strike-zone judgment and hitting ability from both sides of the plate.
Luis Rodriguez, OF, Dodgers: At 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Rodriguez is an advanced hitter with a clean swing and at least average raw power that he’s shown in games and should become a plus tool. He’s an above-average runner with a high baseball IQ that should help him steal bases as well.
Maximo Acosta, SS, Rangers: Acosta stands out because of a well-rounded blend of tools, game skills and hitting ability at a premium position. He’s a plus runner now, though with his body type, that speed might slide back as he enters his 20s. His power, however, is likely to continue to climb as he gets stronger.
Hedbert Perez, OF, Brewers: Perez has developed into one of the most complete players in the 2019 international signing class. He’s a high-contact hitter with at least solid-average raw power that should grow into a plus tool soon. He’s also at least a plus runner who accelerates quickly in the outfield and on the basepaths.
Jhon Diaz, OF, Rays: Diaz is small (5-foot-8, 160 pounds), but he has good bat speed and surprising power for his size. He’s one of the best pure hitters in the class and the type of player whose contact frequency and innate ability to consistently barrel the ball should help his power numbers play up in games. He also has above-average speed with savvy baserunning skills that should translate into stolen bases.
Jose Salas, SS, Marlins: Salas has an appealing blend of physicality, power and speed for a player with a chance to play a premium position. He has a lean, athletic build (6-foot-2, 178 pounds) with quick-burst athleticism and plus speed. A switch-hitter, Salas draws a split camp from scouts on his pure hitting ability. He drives the ball with impact when he connects and should grow into average or better power.
Alexander Ramirez, OF, Mets: Ramirez has a tall, athletic frame (6-foot-3, 170 pounds) with plenty of space to add good weight. He’s a plus runner who has good bat speed and the potential to grow into plus power. With his long limbs, Ramirez has some swing-and-miss risk, but the raw tools and upside are exciting.
Jose Peña, OF, Rays: Peña drove the ball well as an amateur and his power has increased since signing to flash above-average. At athletic 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, Peña has more room to fill out and keep increasing his power to go with above-average speed. He’s going to develop as a center fielder, though depending how big he gets and how it affects his speed and range, there’s a chance he goes to a corner.
Zion Bannister, OF, Rangers: Bannister, who is from the Bahamas, was eligible to sign in 2018 but waited until July 2, 2019 to sign with the Rangers for $836,000. There is still some rawness to Bannister’s game, but the blend of size (6-foot-3, 191 pounds), athleticism, raw power and speed sticks out. He’s a plus runner who has the leverage in his swing to go with his bat speed and the strength projection to develop plus raw power in the next few years.
Richi Gonzalez, OF, Astros: Gonzalez has ample physical projection remaining in his 6-foot-3, 185-pound frame. He’s an athletic center fielder with plus speed and power that’s trending up, and he has the ability to drive the ball out of the park to the middle of the field in games already.
Roismar Quintana, OF, Nationals: Quintana is an athletic outfielder who stays inside the ball well to drive it from right-center over to his pull side and he has a chance to grow into above-average power. Quintana showed above-average speed as an amateur, though he has added significant size since signing to 6 feet, 205 pounds. While his power is likely to increase with the added size, maintaining that speed might be more challenging.
George Feliz, OF, Mariners: Relative to some of the other players on this list, there’s more rawness with Feliz, but he’s an athletic player with promising tools. He has good bat speed and the strength projection to grow into above-average power, with slightly above-average speed that could be enough for him to stay in center field, though he might eventually slide over to right.
Jose Cordero, OF, Padres: Cordero is a quick-twitch athlete who accelerates quickly to get to his plus speed. Right now, Cordero is more of a speed-and-athleticism player rather than a power guy, but he has the bat speed and strength projection in his lean frame (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) to grow into more extra-base juice.
Deivid Alcantara, OF, Reds: Alcantara is still crude in terms of his pitch recognition, but he’s an athletic center fielder with above-average speed and a chance to develop above-average power. There’s significant physical projection left in his 6-foot-2, 180-pound build for his power to grow as he packs on weight.
Elisandro Alcantara, OF, Rockies: A $225,000 signing out of the Dominican Republic, Alcantara has a 6-foot, 175-pound frame with quick-twitch athleticism and plus speed. Alcantara has promising bat speed and power potential, though his pure hitting ability comes with more risk.
Jostyn Almonte, OF, Mets: One player signed for under $100,000 to keep an eye on is Almonte, who received $80,000 out of the Dominican Republic. He’s a stoutly-built 5-foot-11, 195 pounds but moves well for his body type, with plus speed underway. He’s a center fielder for now, though given how he’s built, he probably slows down and ends up in right field. His bat speed and strength could eventually lead to average or better power.