Image credit: Leodalis De Vries signs on Monday, Jan. 15, 2024.
The Padres signed the top international prospect for the second consecutive year, agreeing to a $4.2 million bonus with 17-year-old shortstop Leodalis De Vries at the start of the 2024 signing period.
De Vries signed the second-highest bonus of the class, according to Baseball America’s bonus board. He is considered the top prospect based on pure talent.
A year ago, the Padres signed 16-year-old catcher Ethan Salas to a $5.6 million bonus at the start of the international signing period. The catcher, who turned 17 in June, reached Double-A by the end of the season and enters 2024 as one of the top prospects in baseball. Salas could become the youngest player to ever rank in the Top 10 of a Baseball America preseason Top 100 when we release our list on Wednesday.
While it’s unwise to assume De Vries (or any prospect) can match the pace of Salas’ exceptionally rare ascent through the lower minors, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of the Dominican Republic arrives in pro ball with a polished offensive game.
Here’s an updated report on De Vries from Baseball America’s Ben Badler:
On pure talent, De Vries is the best international prospect in this class. With a bonus that should exceed $4 million, De Vries is a polished hitter for 17, with significant game experience and a knack for consistently getting on base.
He uses his hands well at the plate with a compact, adjustable swing that has good path through the hitting zone and enables him to cover the plate well with a low swing-and-miss rate. It’s a mature offensive approach for his age, with the ability to slow the game down at the plate, comfort using the opposite field with backspin or turning on pitches on the inner third. It’s a good mix of high contact and impact, with De Vries showing the bat speed and loft to drive the ball out of the park in games with potential above-average power.
De Vries generates plenty of attention for his offensive game, but his hand-eye coordination and heady, instinctive play are evident at shortstop as well. He’s an average runner who has the hands and actions for shortstop, along with an average arm that has a chance to tick up. Some scouts think De Vries could end up at second or third base, with the offensive upside to develop into an impact player at those spots as well, but he should continue to develop at shortstop and has the athleticism that could allow him to stick there long term.