2014-15 International Reviews: San Francisco Giants
Top signing: OF Sandro Fabian, Dominican Republic, $500,000.
Six-figure signings: OF/1B Brayan De Pena (Dominican Republic), OF Jose Patino (Venezuela), SS Jose Rivero (Venezuela), OF Beicker Mendoza (Venezuela), SS Francisco Medina (Dominican Republic), RHP Sandro Cabrera (Dominican Republic), RHP Jasier Herrera (Colombia).
Total signings: 24.
Other than Cuban outfielder Daniel Carbonell (who was exempt from the international bonus pools, San Francisco's most expensive signing last year was Dominican outfielder Sandro Fabian, a $500,000 July 2 sign. At 6 feet, 180 pounds, Fabian makes hard contact when he connects and impressed the Giants with his power potential. He takes a big leg kick when he swings and will need to work on his plate discipline against more advanced pitching. Fabian showcased as a center fielder but his below-average speed will move him to a corner in pro ball. Reports on Fabian's arm strength varied, though the Giants saw a plus arm, so he will likely play right field in the Dominican Summer League.
At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, Brayan De Pena stood out for his power, which is why the Giants grabbed him for $425,000 on July 2. De Pena, 17, is a lefty who has flashed that big power in game situations, including two home runs in a Dominican Prospect League game last year in January, but he's still and up-and-down player against live pitching with an uphill swing. At 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, De Pena is limited to left field or first base only. He has primarily been playing in left field during the Giants' instructional league in the Dominican Republic, though he projects to be so big that first base may be his most likely destination. He trained with Josue Mateo.
Jose Patino, a 17-year-old who signed for $400,000 out of Venezuela on July 2, has is an excellent athlete and a 70 runner, giving him a chance to be an above-average defender in center field. At 6 feet, 160 pounds, Patino is a switch-hitter whose offensive game will be more about line drives than power. He trained with Andres Marquez.
One of the Giants' July 2 signings from last year with the best early returns has been 16-year-old Jose Rivero, a Venezuelan shortstop who got $250,000. Rivero is a smart, defensive-minded player who's fielding made a strong impression on the Giants' coaches after signing. He's fundamentally strong in the field with smooth hands, quick feet and a good internal clock. He's a fringy runner but has all the tools to stick at shortstop long term. Rivero isn't very big (5-foot-11, 160 pounds) but he has a line-drive approach with minimal power but some strength projection that could help his bat come along. He trained with Hugo Vasquez and Kender Depablos.
Beicker Mendoza, a 17-year-old Venezuelan outfielder who signed for $210,000 on July 2, is a cruder version of Fabian. Mendoza is 6-foot-2, 185 pounds and impressed the Giants with his power and arm strength, with the righthanded bat still developing. His defensive tools fit best in a corner outfield spot, with the arm for right field.
Francisco Medina signed for $125,000 on July 2. He's a skinny 17-year-old infielder (6-foot-1, 165 pounds) who showcased at shortstop but could end up sliding over to third base. The Giants liked Medina's righthanded bat that could improve with much-needed strength, with the arm, hands and feet to play somewhere on the left side of the infield. He played in the DPL and trained with "Fifo."
The Giants focused on position players, but the best pitcher they signed last year was Sandro Cabrera, a 19-year-old Dominican righthander who signed for $125,000 in October after training with Rudy Santin. Cabrera has a projectable body (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) and a solid three-pitch mix, with an 89-93 mph fastball and a mid-70s curveball that's slightly ahead of his changeup.
They also added a righthander from Colombia, Jasier Herrera, for $150,000 in November. Herrera is 17 and has room to add 30-plus pounds to his 6-foot-5, 190-pound build. When that happens, he has a chance to add velocity to a fastball that touches 91-92 mph and develop into a plus pitch, with his curveball and changeup still developing.