Cincinnati Reds 2020-21 International Signing Preview
This is part of Ben Badler's 2020-21 international signing day preview. You can find the Cincinnati Reds 2019 International Signing Class here. You can also find his international big board of 2020 prospects here.
The Reds' first full signing class under international scouting director Trey Hendricks is shaping up to be a deep, balanced signing class with a diverse mix of skill sets.
The biggest bonuses are expected to go to a pair of Dominican outfielders, Malvin Valdez and Ariel Almonte. Valdez has some rawness to his game as he learns to recognize spin and make more frequent contact in games, but he's a tool shed with premium athleticism. He's at least a plus runner with good range in center field and the raw power to drive the ball out of the park during batting practice. He's likely to sign for near $2 million.
Almonte, whose bonus should come in the $1.5 million to $2 million range, is a physical corner outfielder (6-foot-4, 190 pounds) with a loose, fluid swing from the left side that's fairly compact for a hitter his size. He has shown a good offensive approach for his age and has a plus arm that fits in right field.
Beyond their two expected seven-figure signings, the Reds are also linked to Carlos Jorge, a smaller-framed Dominican shortstop trending up. Jorge has a good mix of bat-to-ball skills and quick-twitch athleticism, with a simple, fluid swing from the left side and plus-plus speed, with a good chance he ends up at second base. He's expected to sign for around $500,000.
Dominican outfielder Brayan Rijo is expected to sign with the Reds for a high six-figure bonus. He has a slender frame (6 feet, 160 pounds) and a chance to stick in center field with solid-average speed and an average arm. He drives the ball well for someone who lacks much present strength, with up-and-down game performance.
Two prominent Venezuelan infielders are also expected to sign with the Reds. One is Luis Reyes, an offensive-minded third baseman. He has a strong, thick build with a patient hitting approach and a knack for barreling balls in games. Reyes has the hands for third base, though he will need to improve his agility to stay there.
Another is Venezuelan shortstop Jose Serrano, a well-rounded, instinctive player who looks better in games than he does in workouts. He might end up outgrowing shortstop and sliding over to third base, but he has a nose for the ball in the infield and has performed well offensively against live pitching.
Venezuelan catcher Eddy Izturis and Venezuelan shortstop Leonardo Balcazar are two more players to watch in the Reds class.