2024 MLB International Prospects Preview: 10 Players To Watch

Image credit: Jose Perdomo

When the international signing period opened on Jan. 15, 2021, the Brewers signed center fielder Jackson Chourio out of Venezuela for $1.8 million. 

Two years later, Chourio is the No. 1 prospect in baseball

Among the top 10 prospects in baseball, four are international signings. Within the Top 100 prospects, 27 signed as international amateur players. That includes lower-bonus players like Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz and Pirates catcher Endy Rodriguez, but it’s also full of big-ticket signings like Mets catcher Francisco Alvarez and Dodgers catcher Diego Cartaya

Teams will get an opportunity to add the next class of international free agents to their farm systems when players officially become eligible to sign on Jan. 15, 2024. With the way international free agency works, players typically commit to sign with teams years in advance of their official signing date, with typically around 40 players who sign for bonuses of at least $1 million, a figure that should hold true again for 2024. 

Teams have their bonus pools of what they’re allowed to spend for the signing period that begins on Jan. 15, 2024 and runs through Dec. 15 that year. These are some of the big names to watch for 2024 who look to be in line for multi-million dollar bonuses. 

Jose Perdomo, SS, Venezuela
Team: Braves

Perdomo rose to prominence around the same time as 2023 catcher Ethan Salas, who signed with the Padres for $5.6 million this year on Jan. 15, to stand out as one of the elite players eligible to sign in 2024. Perdomo, 16, looks to be in line for a similar bonus. He’s 5-foot-11, 170 pounds with a good track record of performing at a high level against live pitching. It’s a simple swing from the right side without much extraneous movement, taking a direct cut to the ball with an accurate barrel. He’s an aggressive hitter with good hand-eye coordination, squaring up fastballs and breaking stuff with a high contact rate. There’s explosiveness to his game that’s ticked up with more strength, giving him an impressive mix of hitting ability and power for his age. Perdomo early on looked like an offensive-oriented player who would move off shortstop, but his defensive development gives him a higher probability now to stick at the position. He’s a plus runner with fairly easy actions at shortstop, with the range and arm strength that should allow him to continue there.

Leodalis De Vries, SS, Dominican Republic
Team: Padres

For some international scouts, De Vries is the best player available for 2024, with a bonus that should surpass $4 million. He’s 6-foot-1, 185 pounds at 16 with a sweet swing from both sides of the plate and is a high-level offensive performer. De Vries consistently hits well against live pitching with a compact, smooth swing with good path through the hitting zone. He uses his hands well with the bat control and adjustability in his swing to put the ball in play at a high clip with good plate coverage. De Vries isn’t just a high-contact, slap hitter either, with an all-fields approach where he can back spin balls the other way or turn on a pitch to pull it over the fence. With average speed, De Vries isn’t a burner, but he’s an athletic shortstop whose hand-eye coordination is evident in the field. He has good hands and actions at shortstop with some flashiness to his game and an average arm that could still tick up. Some scouts think De Vries might get pushed off the position if there’s a better shortstop on his team moving up the ladder, projecting as an offensive second baseman or a third baseman, but he should continue to develop at shortstop and has a chance to stick there. 

Fernando Cruz, SS, Dominican Republic
Team: Cubs

Starlin Castro signed with the Cubs in 2006 and became the organization’s No. 1 prospect entering the 2010 season, reaching the big leagues at 20 and spending 2010-15 as Chicago’s big league shortstop. His cousin, Cruz, is one of the premier players eligible to sign in 2024 and looks set to follow in his footsteps with the Cubs, with Cruz’s bonus expected to be around $4 million. Cruz is 5-foot-11 with strong hands and forearms that help him generate excellent bat speed for 16. Some scouts thought Cruz showed some swing-and-miss tendencies against live pitching, but he is able to let the ball travel deep and drive the ball with authority to right-center field or turn on pitches on the inner third for home run power to his pull side. Cruz is a plus runner and an explosive athlete at shortstop. Like a lot of young shortstops, there are times where he can play out of control, but he has the hands, range, instincts and arm strength that give him a good chance to handle shortstop long term. 

Yovanny Rodriguez, C, Venezuela
Team: Mets

Rodriguez trains with Yasser Mendez, whose program also has Jose Perdomo. Rodriguez is another elite talent eligible to sign in 2024 and for some scouts the No. 1 catcher in the class, on par with many of the other elite Venezuelan amateur catchers from recent years. Rodriguez earns glowing reviews for his defense, where he has the attributes in place to develop into a plus defender. He has soft hands and stellar quickness with a plus arm and an efficient release. That allows him to register pop times under 1.9 seconds in games on his best throws with sharp accuracy. It’s a well-rounded skill set for a catcher, too, as his hitting ability stands out with a high contact rate from the right side of the plate and he flashes good power for 16.

Dawel Joseph, SS, Dominican Republic
Team: Mariners

Joseph is one of the top shortstops in the Dominican Republic eligible to sign in 2024. Early on in the scouting process, Joseph stood out to scouts because of his speed, athleticism and lean, projectable frame, with his wheels a potential asset if he were to move to center field. Now that Joseph has started to fill out, power looks like it will be a bigger part of his game than his speed.  He has grown to 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, and after showing a flatter swing from the right side early on with a lot of hard line drives, his added strength now has his offensive profile looking like more of a power-over-hit type. An above-average runner, Joseph has also enhanced his chances to stay at shortstop with a strong arm for 15.

Adolfo Sanchez, OF, Dominican Republic
Team: Reds

Sanchez is 6-foot-1, 175 pounds with a high waist, a strong lower half and good physical projection remaining. His hitting ability is his calling card, with some scouts considering him one of the premium in-game hitters for the class. He’s a lefty with a sweet swing, staying compact and keeping his barrel through the hitting zone for a long time. Sanchez has an advanced approach for 16, recognizing pitches well with the ability to square up righties or lefties. His ability to hit and get on base stands out the most, but he projects to have at least average and potentially plus power as well. He’s an average runner with good instincts in center field, with a plus arm for right field if his speed pushes him to a corner. 

Victor Hurtado, OF, Dominican Republic
Team: Nationals

Hurtado is 15 and already sticks out for his 6-foot-3, 170-pound frame and good athleticism for his size. Scouts highest on Hurtado like him for his combination of hitting ability and power. He’s a lefthanded outfielder with long levers and a sound swing with the leverage to generate easy loft. Hurtado already drives the ball well and has more space to fill out for that power to spike over the next few years. Hurtado is likely a corner outfielder in pro ball.

Joswa Lugo, SS, Dominican Republic
Team: Angels

Lugo is a power-hitting shortstop with easy juice from the right side. He’s 6-foot-2, 175 pounds with more strength projection remaining and already flashes signs of plus raw power. Lugo doesn’t need to sell out to generate that power and he has a solid offensive approach for his age as well, enabling him to make contact at a good clip and tap into that power in games. Lugo is an offensive-oriented shortstop who has made strides defensively, so he should get a chance to develop at shortstop. A lot of scouts think he’s likely to outgrow the position and slide over to third base, where he has the actions to play and his above-average arm would fit.

Emil Morales, SS, Dominican Republic
Team: Dodgers

Morales offers a promising mix of physicality and hitting ability. He has a compact righthanded swing with good path and not much wasted movement, he recognizes pitches well and has a mature offensive plan for his age. That all leads to frequent contact in games. Now that he’s starting to add strength in his lower half to his 6-foot-3, 180-pound frame, Morales is driving the ball with over-the-fence power that should continue to grow as he gets into his prime. A fringe-average runner, Morales is an offensive-minded shortstop, but he has a chance to stick at shortstop with the strides he has made there. If he outgrows the position, he has a solid-average arm that could fit at third base.

Yandel Ricardo, SS, Cuba
Team: Royals

Ricardo has a good mix of size, athleticism and hitting ability at shortstop, which is what should push his bonus close to $2.5 million. He’s 6-foot-2, 185 pounds with a short swing from both sides of the plate. It’s a little more refined from the right side, but they’re both simple, efficient swings with good path through the hitting zone. That leads to a lot of balls in play with a mature approach geared to use the whole field. It’s hit-over-power right now with doubles that should turn into more home run juice given the room he still has to fill out. Depending how big Ricardo gets, he could end up at third base or possibly second, but he has a chance to stick at shortstop and the tools to stay in the infield. He’s a good athlete with solid-average speed and arm strength that could both tick up depending on his physical development.

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone