Hard-Throwing International Pitcher Generating Attention For Jan. 15
Until recently, teams have not been able to scout international prospects in person for six months going back to March. Only one month ago did Major League Baseball change its rules to allow in-person scouting, and only since Oct. 1 have scouts been allowed to get on a flight or stay in a hotel overnight to see a player.
For players who are 16, six months is huge. They can grow taller, gain weight, get faster and stronger, or sometimes regress.
At this point, though, other than some of the Cuban players, most of the top international players who are eligible to sign on Jan. 15, 2021 (the new start of the 2020-21 signing period that was delayed from July 2 this year) already know where they're going to sign.
One player still showcasing for clubs is 16-year-old Dominican righthander Jarlin Susana, who pitched in a game in front of scouts in Santo Domingo this week. Susana made a loud impression, sitting in the low-to-mid 90s and reaching 96 mph. He's 6-foot-5, 195 pounds with more physical projection remaining, and he paired his fastball with a sharp breaking ball.
It's not a normal year, so usually players would have already signed on July 2 and been at Dominican instructional league right now. But that profile lines up with what you would see from the pitchers who are at the top of the class at this point.
In the video here, the first pitches are from when Susana was 14 pitching in a game in December 2018, when he was throwing 85-87 mph. The next clips are from Susana pitching this week when he was throwing in the mid 90s, with the Mets and Dodgers among the clubs with a notable scouting presence there.
It's not quite the same situation as Robert Dominguez, the 6-foot-4 Venezuelan righthander the Mets signed at this time last year after his velocity jumped to 97 mph, then reached 99 mph shortly before he turned 18 and ranked as the top international pitcher signing of 2019. But Susana should be a high priority arm to monitor as Jan. 15 approaches.