2012-13 International Reviews: Texas Rangers
Top signing: OF Jairo Beras, Dominican Republic, $4.5 million.
Six-figure signings: 3B Juremi Profar (Curacao).
The Rangers signed the biggest prospect for July 2 and didn’t wait around until July 2 to do so. Since he started training with Carlos Guzman a few years ago, Jairo Beras had been presented as being born Dec. 25, 1995, which would have made him eligible to sign last year on July 2, 2012. After the new Collective Bargaining Agreement introduced the $2.9 million international bonus pools that kicked in last year on July 2, Beras came out with a new date of birth saying he was one year older—and thus eligible to sign immediately—with a $4.5 million contract from the Rangers.
Major League Baseball ultimately suspended Beras for one year, ruled that his age is undetermined, but allowed the contract to stand. The decision was not a popular one across the league and even irked some in the commissioner’s office. The league decided to allow Beras to work out at the Rangers’ academy, which usually isn’t the case for a suspended player, so Beras went to instructional league in Arizona, then Dominican instructs, then the team’s early spring training program in the Dominican Republic. He’ll stay in Arizona for extended spring training and will miss the first couple of weeks of the Rookie-level Arizona League season until his suspension ends on July 1.
Even if he’s older than his listed 18, Beras impressed several scouts with his tools and ability to hit in games. He’s 6-foot-6, 190 pounds with good bat speed and the potential for plus-plus raw power. There’s length to his swing, though that’s to be expected for someone his size, so there were some scouts who weren’t sold on his bat, but others have seen him dominate in games. He runs well now but he’s going to slow down once he adds 30-40 pounds to his lanky frame. He has a good arm and profiles as a right fielder.
After July 2, the Rangers didn’t make any major signings. MLB didn’t announce its ruling on Beras until July 12, at which point many of the top July 2 prospects had already signed with other teams. The Rangers did make a push for Japanese high school righthander Shohei Otani, but he reversed course from his public statements that he would sign with a major league team and instead signed with Japan’s Nippon Ham Fighters. Beras didn’t count against the Rangers’ 2012-13 international bonus pool, so they still have the majority of their pool space still available.
The Rangers were relatively quiet after July 2, but they did sign Jurickson Profar’s little brother, third baseman Juremi Profar, for $150,000. Profar, 17, is 6-foot-2, 200 pounds and has the hands and arm strength to play third base. He played in the Little League World Series in 2007 and 2008 and shows flashes of power in games from the right side. Obviously the Rangers had a bit of an in there.
Dominican outfielder Ronny Carvajal signed for $80,000 in December. Carvajal, a 17-year-old from Bani, trained with Miguel Delgado (known as “Billiyo”) and played in the Dominican Prospect League. Carvajal has a projectable, athletic build at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds and good bat speed, but he’s still making adjustments to be able to hit in games. He’s close to an average runner and profiles as a corner outfielder.
Dominican shortstop Luis Terrero trained at La Academia and signed out of Nizao in August for $75,000. Terrero, who turned 17 in November, is 6 feet, 180 pounds with a sturdy build. He’s a solid righthanded hitter with average speed and good awareness field. He’s built like a young Juan Uribe, so he could stay at shortstop, but second and third base could also be options.
The Rangers also signed Ariel Jurado, a righthander from Panama who also trained at La Academia in the Dominican Republic. Jurado didn’t turn 16 until June 30, so he was one of the younger 2012 signings. He touched the high-80s last summer, but before he signed he was more regularly in the mid-80s. With his skinny 6-foot-2, 180-pound frame, there should be projection for some more velocity, but he stands out more for his ability to throw strikes and use his secondary pitches, including a low-70s curveball and a solid changeup for his age.