2021-22 International Reviews: Minnesota Twins
Three of the last four signing periods, Minnesota's international signing class has centered around a seven-figure outfielder, with Misael Urbina in 2018, Emmanuel Rodriguez in 2019 and Yasser Mercedes this year.
Top Of The Class
Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Dominican Republic, outfielder Yasser Mercedes became an early standout in the 2021-22 international class thanks to his combination of size, athleticism and tools at a premium position before signing with the Twins for $1.7 million. Mercedes has a chance to be a power/speed threat in center field. He's a plus runner with some of the better raw power in his class, showing flashes of future plus raw power that should continue to climb as he fills out his lean, well-proportioned 6-foot-3 frame. While Mercedes has big power and has shown it in games at times, that power does come with some strikeouts that he will have to keep in check. Depending how he develops physically, there's a chance Mercedes could end up outgrowing the middle of the field and end up in a corner, but if he can maintain his speed and athleticism he could stick in center, where he has an above-average arm.
Names To Know
Bryan Acuña, SS, Venezuela: Acuña comes from a baseball family, as he's the younger brother of Ronald Acuña Jr., and his mom is a sister of former major league pitcher Kelvim Escobar. Acuña models his swing mechanics after Ronald, with good hand-eye coordination that leads to frequent contact in games. He doesn't turn 17 until August, so he's one of the youngest players in the class and still has a slender 5-foot-11 frame, so he's mostly a line-drive hitter with gap power. He's a below-average runner who could still get faster, with his arm an above-average tool.
Yilber Herrera, SS, Dominican Republic: Early in the scouting process, Herrera had a skinny 5-foot-11 build that left him physically behind other players in his class. Since then, he has gotten stronger, with a mix of tools that grade out around average with gap power from both sides of the plate. Scouts highest on Herrera believe his instincts and feel for the game will allow him to play above his raw tools.
Jose Rodriguez, OF, Dominican Republic: Rodriguez is a strong, physical corner outfielder who stands out for his ability to drive the ball for damage during batting practice, with a power-over-hit profile and the arm to handle right field.
Harold Grant, SS, Dominican Republic: Grant has a chance to stick at shortstop, where he impressed the Twins with his actions, showing good hands, footwork and arm strength. He has shown solid feel for hitting, too, occasionally showing some pull juice but with mostly a line-drive approach and alleys power.
Venezuelan catcher Ricardo Peña has a strong build for a catcher and projects to stick behind the plate, showing strong catch-and-throw skills for his age. He shows a solid bat for a catcher his age, and is mostly a line-drive hitter with gap power.