2019-20 MLB International Reviews: Atlanta Braves
The Braves operated with handcuffs trying to sign players in Latin America this year.
As part of the penalties the commissioner's office leveled at the Braves for their international signing violations, Major League Baseball reduced the organization's bonus pool to $0. Since international signings of $10,000 or less are exempt from the pools, that meant the Braves could still sign players, but only for up to $10,000. So instead of signing Robert Puason, the shortstop in the Dominican Republic they originally were planning to sign until the penalties hit, the Braves were limited to a small group of $10,000 signs. For the upcoming 2020-21 signing period that opens on July 2, 2020, the Braves' bonus pool will be reduced by 50 percent.
Among the Braves' $10,000 signings, these were the notable names to watch.
One is Yoansy Moreno, a 17-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic who trained with Danny Santana. Moreno is a physical specimen at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, with a strong, muscular frame that's relatively filled out and produces a mature tool set. When Moreno runs into the barrel, he can hammer the ball with flashes of above-average raw power. There's some length and stiffness to his swing, but it's a quiet load back and he has a chance to hit enough for his power to play. He moves better than he looks like he would for someone his size, with average speed underway. He has an average arm and will develop as a right fielder.
Another notable July 2 signing for the Braves is Deivy Castro, a 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic. He's 5-foot-9, 160 pounds with a strong lower half and a high-energy style. He's a solid-average runner with enough quick-twitch actions and a strong arm to potentially stay at shortstop, though he might end up bouncing around as a utility type. Castro isn't that big, but he's a switch-hitter with good bat-to-ball skills and doubles power, with his bat speed and offensive game more advanced from the left side. Castro trained with J.D. Ozuna.