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With outfielder Julio Rodriguez (2017) and shortstop Noelvi Marte (2018), the Mariners have landed two of the elite international prospects from the recent signing classes, with Rodriguez already a top 10 prospect in the game and Marte the No. 1 prospect in the 2019 Dominican Summer League.
Now the Mariners enter their first full signing process under the watch of international scouting director Frankie Thon Jr., with their top bonus expected to go to Dominican infielder Starlin Aguilar. He’s a lefthanded hitter with a smooth, easy swing that stays on plane for a long time, good bat speed and an advanced approach for his age with the ability to hit to all fields. He’s an offensive-minded player who projects best at third base, with a bonus likely to be around $1.5 million.
The other big signing the Mariners are expected to make is for Gabriel Gonzalez, a Venezuelan outfielder. Gonzalez has a stocky, strong build (6 feet, 195 pounds) with a fast, aggressive swing and the strength and leverage to drive the ball for power. He has done that against live pitching, performing well and hitting for power in games in Venezuela, though his swing and approach might lead to a power-over-hit profile as he moves up. He’s an average runner now and should start in center field, though with his body type there’s a good chance he moves to a corner.
Luis Bolivar is another high-profile Venezuelan outfielder the Mariners are expected to sign. He is possibly the best pure athlete and runner in the class, running the 60-yard dash in the 6.4 range when he was 14. His pure hitting ability is still raw, but with a plus arm and 70 or 80 speed, he has the tools to be an elite defender in center field.
Seattle is also linked to one of the top lefties in the class, Juan Pinto out of Venezuela. He has a projectable 6-foot-3 frame and a high-80s fastball that should increase velocity once he adds weight, along with a go-to out pitch in his curveball, a tight-spinning breaking ball with good shape and depth to miss bats.
Once the signing period opens on Jan. 15, the Mariners are also expected to finalize a $350,000 deal with 20-year-old Cuban outfielder Victor Labrada. He’s a 5-foot-9 center fielder with plus-plus speed and a quick swing from the left side.
Other expected six-figure signings for the Mariners include Venezuelan righthanders Roiber Talavera and Gleiner Diaz and Dominican rigthander Aneury Lora. Talavera has an athletic, projectable frame (6-foot-1, 160 pounds) to add to a fastball that has been up to 90 mph and feel for a curveball. Lora has good feel for a curveball and changeup for his age. His mid-80s fastball involves deeper projection, but he’s even skinner at 6-foot-1, 145 pounds with good body control to repeat his delivery for someone who lacks much of any strength at the moment. Diaz has a stronger, more mature frame (6 feet, 185 pounds) and more present velocity up to 93 mph with sink.