NL West International Signing Forecasts
The 2017-18 international signing period opens on Sunday, July 2. Here’s what to expect from each team in the National League West and the players they’re linked to, with each club’s bonus pool in parentheses.
Arizona Diamondbacks ($4.75 million) It’s the first July 2 for the Diamondbacks under Cesar Geronimo Jr., hired as the team’s Latin American scouting director in November. As the Diamondbacks adjust their scouting process in Latin America, they’re expected to sign Kristian Robinson, an outfielder from the Bahamas with an excellent combination of size, athleticism, power and speed. Robinson is the No. 9 international prospect, though teams that saw him hit well in games had him higher up their lists. His bonus is expected to be among the top five in the class. The Diamondbacks are also linked to Venezuelan outfielder Jorge Barrosa, who compared to Robinson is on the opposite end of the physical spectrum, but is a polished hitter and fielder for his age. Dominican shortstop Leover Peguero has an intriguing combination of hitting ability and speed, though he might end up in the outfield, while Venezuelan catcher Sergio Gutierrez has shown good catch-and-throw skills behind the plate. The Diamondbacks are connected to both Peguero and Gutierrez, as well as Cuban outfielder Yoel Yanqui.
Colorado Rockies ($5.75 million)
The Rockies have frequently signed players with advanced instincts and overall game awareness with physically underdeveloped frames. Two top shortstops they’re linked to fit that mold. One is Ezequiel Tovar, a Venezuelan shortstop training in the Dominican Republic and ranked as the No. 22 prospect. Another is Fadriel Cruz, a quick-burst athlete from the Dominican Republic and the No. 33 international prospect. Two other notable shortstops linked to the Rockies include Eddy Diaz from Cuba and Jose Colon from the Dominican Republic. The Rockies are also connected to Francisco Palma, a Venezuelan outfielder.
Los Angles Dodgers ($4.75 million)
Under the $300,000 maximum bonus penalty for the second and final year, the Dodgers should still be busy once the international signing period opens on July 2. In Venezuela, the Dodgers are linked to lefthander Luisneyer Perez, righthander Laubert Arias and shortstops Yorbi Vivas, Eynar Machi and Carlos Santiago. In the Dominican Republic, they’re connected to outfielder George Heredia and shortstops Amin Valdez and Eddys Leonard. They won’t be paying any more big bonuses to Cuban players this year, but the Dodgers are linked Cuban outfielders Julio Enrique Romero.
San Diego Padres ($5.75 million)
Since the Padres are under the penalty, the place where they can stretch their dollars the furthest is in Mexico, since only the amount that goes to the player (the Mexican League League club usually keeps 75 percent) counts against a club’s bonus pool. The Padres are expected to sign Manuel Partida, a lefty from Monterrey with an easy delivery and a fastball that’s reached 90 mph. Venezuelan righthander Frank Lopez and Dominican righthander Wilton Ramos are two other notable arms linked to the Padres, with Ramos standing out for his supremely projectable frame (6-foot-6, 180 pounds) to add to a fastball that has reached 91 mph. Other Dominican players linked to the Padres include shortstops Jason Santana, Juan Garcia and Luis Paez, outfielders Cristian Heredia and righthander Yimi Carty. In Venezuela, they’re connected to outfielder Angel Solarte, shortstops Yerri Landinez and Enmanuelle Guerra, catcher Matias Polanco, lefthander Nick Rios and righthanders Mauricio Rodriguez and Carlos Guarate. They can't pay any top-level Cuban players this year like they did in 2016, but they are linked to righthander Edgar Martinez, who posted a 20-2 K-BB mark with a 0.60 ERA in 15 innings for Cuba at the 15U World Cup in Japan in 2015.
San Francisco Giants ($4.75 million)
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By signing Lucius Fox for $6 million in 2015, the Giants went over their bonus pool and will be in the second year of the penalty in 2017, which means nobody for them above a $300,000 bonus. They remained aggressive within that limit last year with six-figure signings from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and Panama, and they should follow a similar pattern for their 2017 strategy. One player connected to the Giants is Dominican shortstop Jean Pena. So is Venezuelan shortstop Jose Peralta, though he can’t sign until he turns 16 on July 4. The Giants are also linked to Jesus Gomez, a lefty from Venezuela, and Yorlis Rodriguez, who played good defense at shortstop on Cuba's 15U World Cup team in Mexico in 2014. There is also some chatter they might try to sign Cuban righthander Roberto Hernandez, though that would entail Hernandez waiting until 2018 to sign since he would be out of their 2017 price limit.