2019 MLB International Signing Preview
With the 2019-2020 international signing period opening on July 2, today we have a preview of the top players each team is expected to sign. Each team is expected to sign between 20-70 players throughout the course of the signing period, which closes next year on June 15. Teams will sign more players than the ones we've listed below, but we've tried to highlight the more prominent players for each team.
We have reports on top players in the class here, more top players in the class here, and reports on some of the early standouts in the 2019 class back in 2017 here and also here.
They're expected to sign Dominican outfielder Franyel Baez (video and more video) for around $1 million. Dominican shortstops Jiter Heredia (video), Ronny Polanco (video) and Lewin de la Cruz are also expected to sign with Arizona.
The Braves have a $0 bonus pool, which means the only players they can get are players who sign for $10,000 or less, since those signings are exempt from the bonus pools. That severely limits what the Braves will be able to do, but there are always late-blooming pitching prospects to be found at lower price points.
After years of wasting opportunities, the Orioles finally appear ready to make a commitment to Latin America. They hired Mike Elias as general manager in November and Koby Perez as international scouting director in January, but since most of the top players in the 2019 class made signing commitments well before then, the Orioles are still limited for what they can do in 2019 and even 2020. While it's a low bar to clear, the Orioles are still expected to have a stronger class than usual, including Luis Ortiz, a Dominican lefthander with a sharp curveball, Dominican shortstop Anderson Rogers (video) and 6-foot-6, 245-pound Venezuelan righthander Charbel Abboud.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox remain one of the most active teams in Venezuela, and they're expected to have another class that's heavy on Venezuelan talent. Outfielder Juan Chacon is one standout from that group, while shortstop Johnfrank Salazar, outfielder Jhostnyxon Garcia and catcher Renny Flores (video) are other Venezuelan players expected to sign with Boston, as is Dominican righthander Nathanael Cruz.
Venezuelan catcher Ronnier Quintero (video) and Dominican shortstop Kevin Made (video), who both train with Jaime Ramos, are expected to sign with the Cubs. Quintero is a strong, power-hitting catcher, while Made is a skinny, high-waist shortstop with a quick bat from the right side and significant physical projection. Venezuelan catcher Brayant Altuve is also expected to sign with the Cubs.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have signed several Cuban players in recent years. They gave their $300,000 maximum bonus last year to a pair of Cuban infielders, Harold Diaz and Bryan Ramos, and $250,000 to Cuban first baseman Alberto Bernal. This year their top target appears to be Yolbert Sanchez, a 22-year-old shortstop from Cuba. They're also linked to Dominican shortstop Elijah Tatis, younger brother of Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who originally signed with the White Sox as an amateur.
Dominican shortstop Brailin Minier and Cuban infielder Michel Triana are two players linked to the Reds. So is Dominican outfielder Deivi Alcantara and Dominican shortstop Adrian Castro (video).
Venezuelan shortstop Jose Pastrano (video and more video) stood out early on while training with Banana and playing in the Dominican Prospect League. He's a switch-hitter with a simple swing and quick actions at shortstop. Colombian shortstop Angel Contreras and Panamanian outfielder Luis Durango are also expected to sign with Cleveland.
Adael Amador (video and more video) won a gold medal as the starting shortstop for the Dominican Republic at the 15U Pan American Championship two years ago. Now he's one of the top prospects for 2019. His teammate, outfielder Oscar Aude (video), is also expected to sign with the Rockies. So is Venezuelan shortstop Moises Paiva (video) and Mexican righthander Victor Juarez.
The Tigers maintain one of the more active scouting presences in the league in Venezuela. One Venezuelan player they are expected to sign this year is shortstop Manuel Sequera. Dominican outfielder Abelardo Lopez is also linked to the Tigers (video), as is Venezuelan catcher Samuel Rojas (video).
Houston's top signing this year is expected to be Dominican shortstop Dauris Lorenzo (video), a switch-hitter with a smooth swing. Juan Santander, one of the top Venezuelan catchers in the class, is also expected to sign with the Astros.
Kansas City Royals
One of the top players in the 2019 class is Erick Peña (video below), a lefthanded-hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic. Venezuelan catcher Meiver Borges (video) is also expected to join the Royals.
Los Angeles Angels
Arol Vera (video) is one of the top shortstops in the class and arguably the top shortstop this year out of Venezuela. He's a switch-hitter with a sweet swing who the Angels are expected to sign. They're also linked to Dominican shortstops Adrian Placencia and Jose Bonilla (video).
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers are expected to sign Luis Rodriguez (video), a talented outfielder who is arguably the top prospect this year from Venezuela, with an exciting combination of hitting ability, power and athleticism. Venezuelan catcher Yeiner Fernandez (video), Venezuelan righthander Kristian Cardozo (video) and Dominican shortstop Darol Garcia (video) are also linked to the Dodgers.
Venezuelan shortstop Jose Salas is one a quick-burst athlete with excellent speed. The Marlins are expected to sign him, Dominican shortstop Junior Sanchez and Ian Lewis, a shortstop from the Bahamas. The Marlins are also linked to Cuban shortstop Yiddi Cappe, who will be eligible to sign in 2019, though as of now he's expected to wait until 2020 to sign until.
The Brewers have been aggressively scouting Venezuela, which should show in their 2019 signings. They're expected to land one of the top outfielders, Luis Medina (video) from Venezuela. Outfielder Hedbert Perez and shortstops Jheremy Vargas and Jose Caballero are among the other Venezuelan players linked to Milwaukee. So is Dominican shortstop Arnys Rodriguez.
The Twins are expected to spend a big chunk of their bonus pool money on a pair of Dominican outfielders, Emmanuel Rodriguez (video) and Malfrin Sosa (video). They're also linked to Yonardy Soto (video), a Dominican shortstop who is a cousin of Rangers shortstop prospect Anderson Tejeda, and Argenis Jimenez, a Venezuelan outfielder.
New York Mets
With former international scouting director Chris Becerra leaving to join the Red Sox, the Mets hired Rafael Perez as their new international director. This year's top target for the Mets appears to be Alexander Ramirez (video), a Dominican outfielder with a chance to be a power/speed threat.
New York Yankees
The Yankees look primed for another exciting international class, led by outfielder Jasson Dominguez, a player several teams consider the best player available. Dominguez combines explosive athleticism, outstanding speed and arm strength with the ability to hit and hit for power in games. He's expected to cost around $5 million. Dominican outfielder Jhon Diaz (video and more video) has a small stature but excellent hitting ability and all-around game instincts. He and power-hitting Dominican third baseman Enger Castellano (video) are both expected to sign with the Yankees. That means the Yankees are likely going to make a trade either on July 2 or at some point later this month to get more bonus pool space.
Puason is an athletic switch-hitter with a projectable build, plus speed and a strong arm. He's expected to sign for around $5 million.
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Venezuelan outfielder Yhoswar Garcia won't be able to sign until March, but once he can sign, he's expected to join the Phillies. He's one of the top players in Venezuela, an excellent athlete with premium speed in center field. Dominican righthander Jean Hernandez, Dominican shortstop Randy Vasquez and Colombian catcher Jackie Pertuz are also linked to Philadelphia.
One of the top pitching prospects in the Dominican Republic is Christopher Cruz, a righthander who the Pirates are expected to sign. They're also linked to Delfin Ramirez, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals are out of the penalty box for the first time in the last two years, so they're no longer restricted to signings of $300,000 or less. One player they're expected to sign is Jeremy Rivas, a shortstop from Venezuela.
San Diego Padres
Two of the top position players in the class—Panamanian shortstop Reggie Preciado and Dominican outfielder Ismael Mena—are expected to sign with the Padres. Preciado is a projectable 6-foot-4 shortstop who excelled in games in Panama and made the U-15 World Cup all-tournament team last year, while Mena is a speedy, athletic center fielder. Four prominent Venezuelan prospects—lefty Luis Gutierrez, righthander Brayan Medina and catchers Oswaldo Linares and Carlos Rodriguez—are also linked to the Padres. So is Dominican center fielder Jose Cordero.
San Francisco Giants
A pair of Venezuelan shortstops—Aeverson Arteaga and Anthony Rodriguez—are expected to sign with the Giants. So are two prominent Dominican pitchers, righthander Manuel Mercedes and lefthander Esmerlin Vinicio (video). Adrian Sugastey, a catcher from Panama, and Onil Perez (video), a catcher from the Dominican Republic, are also linked to the Giants.
The last two years, the Mariners have landed premium, impact players in outfielder Julio Rodriguez and shortstop Noelvi Marte. They look like they're going to spread their money around more this year, with players linked to them including Dominican righthander Jose Corniel, Dominican outfielder Carlos Jimenez (video), Dominican shortstop Edryn Rodriguez (video), Dominican shortstop Axel Sanchez (video) and Dominican shortstop Andres Mesa.
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are expected to sign Jose Pena (video), an outfielder from the Dominican Republic. Three Dominican shortstops—Wilmer de la Cruz (video), Victor Valera and Odalis Peguero (video)—are also linked to the Rays.
Bayron Lora (video) stood out at showcases in 2017 for his gigantic raw power. He's a large, physical outfielder from the Dominican Republic, with the Rangers expected to sign him for around $4 million. They're also expected to land one of the top shortstops in the class, Maximo Acosta from Venezuela, and Zion Banister (video), a shortstop from the Bahamas.
Toronto Blue Jays
Rikelvin de Castro, a lean, athletic shortstop with a chance to develop into a plus defender, is expected to sign a seven-figure deal with the Blue Jays. They're also expected to land Venezuelan shortstop Estiven Machado, Venezuelan outfielder Robert Robertis, Venezuelan catcher Victor Mesia and Dominican outfielder Cristian Feliz (video).
The Nationals are expected to sign a couple of prominent Venezuelan players. They're linked to Andry Lara, a righthander with a power arm, and outfielder Rosimar Quintana.