2018-19 International Reviews: Boston Red Sox
This is part of Ben Badler's 2018-19 International Reviews series chronicling all the moves made by teams on the international market over the prior year. To see all 30 teams, click here.
Total 2018 signings: 52
With former international scouting director Eddie Romero promoted to executive vice president/assistant general manager, the Red Sox elevated Todd Claus and Rolando Pino to each become co-director of international scouting in November. At the same time, the Red Sox added to their international scouting staff, bringing in former Mets international scouting director Chris Becerra, whose signings included Amed Rosario, Andres Gimenez and Ronny Mauricio, and former Braves director of Latin American scouting Mike Silvestri.
Boston's top international signing last year was Eduardo Lopez, a Dominican outfielder who got $1.15 million on July 2 after training with Aldo Marrero. Lopez is a 16-year-old switch-hitter with a polished swing, approach and instincts in all phases of the game. While other players have more explosive tools, Lopez has high-level game acumen and advanced hitting ability for his age. He has a smooth, simple swing. staying compact and balanced from both sides of the plate. He seldom swings and misses because he has excellent barrel control and doesn't chase much out of the strike zone, tracking pitches well and maintaining a disciplined approach. He's a line-drive hitter with occasional gap shots and projects to be more of an on-base threat than a power hitter.
The risk on Lopez is where he fits defensively. He ran below-average times in the 60-yard dash before signing, but the Red Sox saw him with average speed. Lopez does have strong defensive instincts for his age, getting quick jumps off the bat and taking good routes, but he's not a burner, so it's not a typical center field defensive profile unless he gets faster. His arm earns 40-45 grades but could still tick up. The Red Sox typically start all their Latin American signings in the Dominican Summer League, so Lopez is expected to make his pro debut there this year.
Eduardo Vaughan received the top bonus of any prospect from Panama last year, signing with the Red Sox for $525,000 on July 2. At the time Vaughan signed, he stood out for his considerable physical upside and actions more so than his present tools or polish. Signed at an athletic but skinny 6-foot-3, 160 pounds, Vaughan, 17, has since grown an inch and gained 25 pounds, with those physical gains causing his tools to spike. A righthanded hitter, Vaughan has since his bat speed tick up and his power grow from being an occasional gap hitter to a player who should have plus power in the near future. He has long arms and is still growing into his body coordination, so there is some work he will need on his timing, but he's starting to drive the ball with impact. Vaughan is a fringe-average runner, but he has a long gait and stride, so the Red Sox will start him in center field. It's likely he outgrows that position and goes to a corner. He had good arm action when he signed and his strength gains have helped his arm improve to a plus tool, so right field would be a fit for him.
While Vaughan was tall and skinny when he signed, Dominican outfielder Bryan Gonzalez stood out for his strength and physical maturity when the Red Sox signed him on July 2 for $500,000. At 17, Gonzalez is 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, with his brute strength and quick bat speed helping him generate plus raw power. The Red Sox liked his feel for hitting, though he has a power-over-hit profile. He's a corner outfielder whose arm has ticked up to slightly above-average, so he could fit in right field. Gonzalez trained with Jose Marmolejos.
Dominican outfielder Giancarlos Santana, 17, signed with the Red Sox for $460,000 on July 2. Santana is a righthanded-hitting center fielder with some similarities to Lopez. At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Santana has a clean, fluid swing with an advanced approach and sprays the ball over the field with a good track record of hitting in games. He's a line-drive hitter with occasional doubles pop and a hit-over-power offensive profile, though he has the physical upside to grow into more sock. Like Lopez, he doesn't have typical center field speed, but he has a quick first step and is light on his feet. He trained at the Bartolo Colon academy.
Albert Feliz, a Dominican outfielder the Red Sox signed for $400,000, is more in the mold of Gonzalez as a physical, power-hitting corner bat. He's 6-foot-2, 200 pounds with plus raw power, with the ability to drive the ball with impact to all fields. He has enough arm strength to play right field. Feliz trained with Marino Sierra and Astin Jacobo.
Dominican righthander Gabriel Jackson signed with the Red Sox for $350,000 on July 2 after training with Juan Perez. He's a strong, thick-boned pitcher (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) at 17 with heavy life on a fastball that's been up to 93 mph. He throws strikes, works in the bottom of the zone and should eventually throw in the mid-90s, with the development of his offspeed stuff a focal point for him.
The Red Sox are among the most aggressive teams sending scouts in to Venezuela to sign players. One of their top Venezuelan signings last year was Naysbel Marcano, a 16-year-old catcher they added on July 2. He has the attributes to stay behind the plate, where he's a good athlete for the position with an ideal catcher's frame (6 feet, 180 pounds). Marcano is quick and flexible with big, strong hands to receive the ball easily. He has good catch-and-throw skills with a 55 arm. He has also shown a good balance of hitting ability and power for the position, hitting well in games from the right side with a chance for 10-15 home runs. He trained with Carlos Yanez.
The Red Sox also signed Venezuelan shortstop Brainer Bonaci when he turned 16 on July 9. When Bocai signed, he weighed around 140 pounds, but he's up to around 5-foot-9, 165 pounds now. While he's a smaller-framed player lacking strength, he's a baseball rat with easy actions and a knack for slowing the game down. He already has a plus arm that could jump a grade once he gets stronger, with good hands and instincts at shortstop. Bonaci a switch-hitter with a line-drive approach and the ball comes off his bat surprisingly well for his wiry build. He trained with Jose Genoves.
Another Venezuelan shortstop with a skinny frame, Noelberth Romero, signed with the Red Sox on July 2. At 6 feet, 145 pounds, the 17-year-old Romero is a smooth defensive shortstop with sweet hands, good defensive actions and instincts. He has an average arm with an easy throwing stroke, so he could have a plus arm once he gains weight. Romero is a defensive-oriented shortstop, but he does have a fluid swing from the right side with an offensive game that could tick up with strength gains. Romero trained with Maggy.
One of the biggest risers among Boston's 2018 international signings has been 16-year-old Venezuelan righthander Wikelman Gonzalez. During the amateur scouting process, Gonzalez was throwing 83-86 mph with plus arm speed from a skinny, long-limbed frame (6 feet, 145 pounds). His velocity started to creep up, and as he's put on 15-20 pounds, Gonzalez now has reached 93 mph. He has a fast, high-energy delivery that creates a lot of torque and leverage. He's still learning to keep it under control, but he profiles as a starter with a three-pitch mix, backing up his fastball with a hard, three-quarters breaking ball and a changeup.
The Red Sox signed Dominican shortstop Eddinson Paulino for $205,000 when he turned 16 on July 2. At 5-foot-10, 155 pounds, Paulino doesn't jump out immediately for his size or tools, but he consistently hit well in games as an amateur with an advanced offensive approach. He doesn't swing and miss much, spraying line drives to all fields. He's an average runner who might end up at second base.
Carlos Reyes is a 17-year-old Dominican righthander who trained at the Mejia Top 10 program and signed with the Red Sox for $180,000 on July 2. He's 6-foot-3, 190 pounds with a high spin rate curveball, a pitch with good depth and shape that clocks up to the mid-70s. Reyes reached 90 mph when he signed and has since added a couple ticks to be able to hit 92.
12 International Sleeper Prospects To Watch In 2019
A dozen international prospects who went under the amateur radar or are arrow up guys entering 2019.
See also: 2017-18 Red Sox International Review (Notable prospect Antoni Flores)
See also: 2016-17 Red Sox International Review (Notable prospect Bryan Mata)
See also: 2015-16 Red Sox International Review
See also: 2014-15 Red Sox International Review (Notable prospect Anderson Espinoza)
See also: 2013-14 Red Sox International Review (Notable prospect Rafael Devers)
See also: 2012-13 Red Sox International Review
See also: 2011-12 AL East International Review (Notable prospect Manuel Margot)
See also: 2010-11 AL East International Review