Tampa Bay Rays 2024 International Review


The Rays used their bonus pool space to sign one of the deeper international classes this year. They came away with a mix of potential power bats and a group of promising shortstops. These are reports on 16 prospects to watch this year for the Rays in the Dominican Summer League.

Top Of The Class

The Rays signed 17-year-old Dominican outfielder Leonardo Pineda for $1.75 million. He’s 5-foot-11, 185 pounds, so while he’s not a tall, imposing slugger, he has the bat speed, strength and physical upside to hit for power. He is already hitting home runs in preseason games, whipping the barrel through the zone to hammer balls to his pull side with what could end up becoming plus raw power.

Pineda showed some swing-and-miss tendencies as an amateur, but he has a sound swing and has been able to make enough contact to help him tap into that power in games. Pineda’s offensive game was what generated attention for him, but his defense in center field has looked better than many expected. He’s an average runner, so it’s not prototype center field speed, but he has shown good defensive instincts, reading the ball well off the bat and taking good routes. If he does outgrow center field, he has an above-average arm that will play in right field. 

Names To Know

Andreimi Antunez, SS, Venezuela: Antunez didn’t get the biggest bonus in the Rays’ class, but he has already emerged as one of their best international signings this year. Signed for $300,000, Antunez is 5-foot-10, 150 pounds with all the ingredients to develop into a plus or potentially better defender at shortstop.

He’s light on his feet, dancing around shortstop and fielding the ball with soft, quick hands and a nose for the ball with a plus arm when he wants to let it loose. He can make the flashy play, though like a lot of young shortstops he can try to do too much at times. Antunez has gotten stronger, which has helped his speed improve to a tick above-average. He has a sound swing and good contact skills, showing the ability to center good velocity with some sneaky pop for his size, but he’s still behind his peers in terms of strength with what will likely be a hit-over-power game as he moves up. 

Angel Brachi, SS, Venezuela: Brachi, 17, doesn’t have huge tools but he does have a good mix of skills at shortstop and at the plate. Signed for $800,000, Brachi is an instinctive, smooth mover at shortstop with quick reactions. At 5-foot-10, 165 pounds, Brachi is an average runner who isn’t as explosive as a lot of the top shortstops his age, but he has a good internal clock and is a reliable, under control defender with a strong arm. A righthanded hitter Brachi has a sound righthanded swing and good bat-to-ball skills with a line-drive approach and gap power, with his stature pointing to a player who probably won’t have power ever be a big part of his game. 

Aaron Pinero, SS, Venezuela: An offensive-minded infielder, Pinero signed for $450,000. He’s 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, a smaller but stocky, more physically mature frame for 17 with a strong lower half, so while he could see time at shortstop, he seems ticketed either for third base or potentially a bat-first second baseman. Pinero has a short righthanded swing with good contact skills, bat speed and extra-base damage in games, including occasional over-the-fence juice. His first-step quickness will probably push him off shortstop, with the hands and arm strength for third base. 

Deinys Gonzalez, C, Venezuela: Gonzalez stood out as an offensive-oriented catcher when the Rays signed him for $440,000. He’s 5-foot-9, 180 pounds at 17, a righthanded hitter whose swing works well with a mix of bat-to-ball skills and strength to drive the ball with extra-base impact. Gonzalez has the offensive game that should translate well to success in the Dominican Summer League, though some scouts had questions about whether he would stay behind the plate. He has the arm strength to catch and is a good athlete who moves well enough for an outfield corner if he has to move, but he has made strides with his lower half flexibility that has made him a more agile and mobile defender, improving his chances to stick at catcher. 

Carlos Matias, OF, Dominican Republic: Matias had some of the best bat speed for a 2024 prospect in the Dominican Republic when the Rays signed him at 17 for $425,000. He’s 6-foot-2, 195 pounds with a barrel that flies through the zone to produce above-average raw power that should continue to climb. He’s a righthanded hitter who will need to make adjustments against breaking balls in a power-over hit offensive game. Bat speed and power are the calling cards for Matias, but he has shown solid reads and routes in center field as well. He’s an average runner who should get a chance to prove himself in center field in the lower levels, though long term could go to a corner, with a plus arm that would suit him in right field. 

Domingo Batista, SS, Dominican Republic: Signed for $425,000, Batista is a 17-year-old shortstop with the actions to stick at the position between his hands, footwork and arm strength. Batista has the makings of a solid swing from the right side, though at a skinny, underdeveloped 6-foot-1, 170 pounds, Batista will need time to get stronger for everything to take the next step forward. 

Israfell Bautista, SS, Dominican Republic: Bautista, signed at 17 for $400,000, has the athleticism, speed and defense that stick out quickly. He’s a skinny 6-foot-2, 155 pounds, a plus-plus runner who is a good straight line runner underway and gets out of the box quickly to match those 70-grade times from home to first. That speed leads some scouts to want to see him roam around center field, but he has crisp defensive actions at shortstop and projects to be a good defender at the position. Bautista has shown good contact skills from the right side with occasional gap power and a lot more space to fill out his lanky frame, so getting stronger will be essential for his development.  

Sebastian Perez, RHP, Dominican Republic: Perez is a 17-year-old righthander the Rays signed for $310,000. He’s 6-foot-4, 170 pounds with a sound delivery, good arm action and a fastball that has been up to 93 mph, showing the signs of a pitcher who should be in the mid-90s soon. He’s a long-limbed pitcher still learning to repeat his release point to throw consistent strikes, with his slider up to the low-80s ahead of his changeup. 

Ismael Del Rosario, OF, Dominican Republic: Del Rosario, 17, has shown an intriguing package of athleticism and tools for a player with the potential to play in the middle of the field. Signed for $300,000, Del Rosario 6-foot-1, 185 pounds with a nice lefthanded swing that should translate to game success. He does it with above-average bat speed, flashing home run power to his pull side now with the projection for him to develop 20-plus homer juice. His athleticism, above-average speed and above-average arm all give him a chance to stick in center field. 

Erick Lugo, C, Venezuela: Lugo had spent time as a shortstop as an amateur, but his first-step quickness meant a position change was likely to come, and he ended up moving behind the plate. His athleticism, hands and arm strength all worked well in the infield and should transfer well for him to be able to stick behind the plate with more reps. He’s 6 feet, 165 pounds at 17, a line-drive hitter from the right side with doubles pop. Lugo signed for $250,000.

Emiliano Galan, OF, Dominican Republic: The Rays signed Galan, a power-hitting corner outfielder, for $250,000. He’s already 6-foot-1, 205 pounds, with strength and big bat speed behind his swing to flash what’s already at least average raw power and could grow into a plus tool. He has an aggressive approach he’s learning to reign in with what looks like a power-over-hit offensive game. 

Jean Santana, SS, Dominican Republic: Signed for $250,000, Santana has promising tools and actions that he’s still learning to refine. He’s 5-foot-11, 180 pounds at 17 with plus speed, a strong arm and moves around well at shortstop. He doesn’t have as much organized game experience compared to some of his peers, so he’s still learning to develop his instincts for the game on both sides of the ball with more reps, but there’s strength in his righthanded swing to make hard contact when he connects.

Sleeper Watch

Among the lower dollar signings for the Rays, one to watch is Andres Torres, a 17-year-old catcher from Venezuela who got $60,000. He’s 5-foot-11, 150 pounds with promising signs from the left side of the plate, where he has a good sense of the strike zone and a line-drive approach with gap power, with his offense ahead of his defense. 

They weren’t signed in this year’s class, but the Rays do have two pitchers to watch in the DSL this year who will make their pro debuts this year after they signed once the 2023 DSL was over. One is 18-year-old Dominican righthander Ricardo Ramirez, who signed last year in September, and has a big frame (6-foot-5, 205 pounds) with a fastball that has been up to 96 mph along with a hard curveball and a firm changeup. The other is Venezuelan righthander Xavier Lopez, who turns 19 on May 29, and has been up to 95 mph with a slider and changeup in his repertoire.

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