MLB Showcase Notebook: 2018 International SS Prospects
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic—Most of the top international prospects in the 2018 class participated in Major League Baseball’s annual international showcase last week at Estadio Quisqeuya.
The rosters included shortstops Marco Luciano, Gabriel Rodriguez, Orelvis Martinez and Noelvi Marte, all of whom will rank among the premium prospects in the class, with Dominican shortstop Alejandro Pie (linked to the Rays) one notable omission from the event.
Below are reports and videos on all of the Dominican shortstops who were at the showcase. We will have reports on the rest of the infielders and other top players from the showcase later. All of the players are 16, unless noted otherwise.
Marco Luciano, Dominican Republic
Size: 6-1, 177, R-R
Trainer: Ray Castillo
60 yards: 6.81 seconds
Games: 0-for-4, 2 BB
Luciano is one of the top 2018 prospects and for some clubs he’s the No. 1 player in the Dominican Republic. He’s a power-hitting shortstop, and while he wasn’t launching balls in BP like he’s done in the past, but I have seen him hit home runs in games, including an opposite-field homer in a game in November.
Luciano swung through three fastballs, but he generally managed his at-bats well. While he went hitless in games, he made hard contact off a curveball on a flyout to left field and was robbed of a hit on a line drive up the middle that went right at the second baseman who was moving toward the bag with the runner at first stealing on the play.
A slightly above-average runner with an athletic frame, Luciano also looked comfortable at shortstop, handling everything cleanly during infield with a strong, accurate arm and fielding his position well during the game. The Giants are the favorites to sign Luciano, whose bonus should be around the $2.5 million area.
Orelvis Martinez, Dominican Republic
Size: 5-11, 181, R-R
Trainer: Rudy Santin
60 yards: 6.98 seconds
Games: 0-for-4, 2 BB
Martinez is expected to receive the highest bonus of any international player when the 2018-19 signing period opens on July 2, likely pushing past $3 million with the Blue Jays the favorites. He has fast hands and a calm, easy swing that generates power and loft from right-center over to his pull side.
Martinez should get a chance to begin his career as a shortstop, but he projects as more of a strong, physical player than an athletic shortstop, with a skill set that would fit well at third base. The Blue Jays are linked to Martinez.
Noelvi Marte, Dominican Republic
Size: 6-1, 181, R-R
60 yards: 6.70 seconds
Games: 1-for-6, 2 SO
Last summer, Marte showed one of the best power/speed combinations in the class and separated himself as a premium prospect for 2018. He performed well in games, including a strong showing during the Dominican Prospect League’s trip to Joliet, Ill. in August.
He didn’t show as well in November at the MLB Dominican national showcase (0-for-4, two strikeouts) or in the MLB international showcase. At the plate, Marte didn’t look as electric as he did in the DPL, though he still showed plus speed, drove a few balls to the warning track during BP and only swung and missed once in games. Marte is likely to be one of the top-paid players this year on July 2, with the Mariners tied to him.
Junior Sanquintin, Dominican Republic
Size: 6-0, 182, B-R
Trainer: Wilkin Ramirez
60 yards: 7.02 seconds
Games: 1-for-5, BB, 2 SO
Sanquintin is an offensive-minded player, with scouts highest on him believing in his bat after seeing him perform well in games. Sanquintin has a fast bat and drives the ball well when he connects, pulling one ball over the fence from the left side in BP. Sanquintin has swing-and-miss tendencies, with seven empty swings at the MLB showcase.
Scouts have questions on whether Sanquintin will stick in the infield, and while he’s not a natural shortstop, he fielded everything cleanly in games. He’s expected to sign for more than $1 million, with the Indians the likely landing spot.
MLB, Cuba Reach Signing Agreement
The new system essentially turns Cuban signings into a hybrid between the Mexican League and Asian professional leagues.
Adinso Reyes, Dominican Republic
Size: 6-0, 195, R-R
60 yards: 7.06 seconds
Games: 0-for-6, 3 SO
Reyes’ game is built around the strength in his 6-foot, 195-pound frame. He’s expected to land a bonus near $1.5 million, with the Tigers connected to him, but he didn’t look his best at the MLB showcase, going 0-for-6 with three strikeouts. Reyes can drive the ball with authority when he connects, though he had trouble with breaking balls and his defense at the showcase.
Jose Bonilla, Dominican Republic
Size: 6-0, 181, R-R
Trainer: Nolan Pena
60 yards: 7.16 seconds
Games: 1-for-5, 1 BB, 2 SO
While Bonilla did show some swing-and-miss tendencies last week, scouts highest on him see an offensive-minded shortstop. A 15-year-old linked to the Angels, Bonilla showed a line-drive approach at the MLB showcase, and he has flashed more power in the past. Bonilla’s hands and arm work well, though his footwork and range could lead him to third base.
Warming Bernabel, Dominican Republic
Size: 6-1, 186, R-R
60 yards: 7.10 seconds
Games: 1-for-2, 3 BB, SO, Sac Fly
Scouts highest on Bernabel, 15, like his offensive potential and on-base skills. Bernabel sets up with a wide base, no stride and takes a line-drive approach with gap power. Bernabel doesn’t have the same quick-twitch explosiveness as some of the other infielders at the showcase, which could lead him to another position. The Rockies are linked to Bernabel.