Now that it has been a week since teams were allowed to officially sign this year’s crop of Latin American free agents, I thought I would take the time to recap the action. This list is based off of Baseball America’s list of top 25 prospects, ranked in terms of their expected signing bonuses. This list is not an attempt by BA to rank them according to talent or ability. While it is important to keep tabs on the Royals, it is also important to keep an eye on what the other teams in MLB are up to.
- SS-Miguel Sano (Dominican Republic)
- CF-Wagner Mateo (DR) – signed by the St. Louis Cardinals
- C-Gary Sanchez (DR) – signed by the New York Yankees
- CF-Guillermo Pimentel (DR) – signed by the Seattle Mariners
- SS-Jose Vinicio (DR)
- SS-Luis Sarinas (Venezuela) – signed by the Texas Rangers
- 3B-Cheslor Cuthbert (Nicaragua) – signed by the Kansas City Royals
- LHP-Juan Urbina (Venezuela)
- RHP-Daniel Sanchez (Venezuela)
- RF-Jose Pena (DR) – signed by the Milwaukee Brewers
- LHP-Edgar Ferreira (DR)
- RHP-Jochi Oeando (DR)
- C-Jacob Beltre (DR)
- LHP-Victor Payano (DR)
- RHP/SS-Jurickson Profar (Curacao) – signed by the Texas Rangers
- CF-Luis Jolley (DR)
- RHP-Johendi Jiminian (DR)
- SS-Santo Aybar (DR)
- SS-Rosel Herrera (DR) – signed by the Colorado Rockies
- RHP-Leonardo Perdomo (DR)
- SS-Wilfredo Solano (Venezuela) – signed by the Oakland Athletics
- C-Santiago Nessy (Venezuela) – signed by the Toronto Blue Jays
- SS-Jorge Polanco (DR)
- SS-Jairo Kelly (DR)
- SS-Humberto Valor (Venezuela) – signed by the Cincinnati Reds
So far only 11 of these 25 players have been signed, but there have been a fair number of signings among the lesser known players. That said, Cuthbert is the only Latin FA that the Royals have signed thus far, but they are expected to land a fair number of 2nd tier guys. Since we are talking about 16 year old kids being signed here, often times the kids that end up being signed for $50,000 end up being better players than the high profile, high signing bonus guys do. Signing Latin/International free agents is an even bigger crap shoot than the MLB draft, but involved participation in the market is a must for organizational success. The Royals under Dayton Moore are involved. Now we just have to hope that their talent evaluation and scouting staff are up to the task.
It is interesting to note that the Texas Rangers are the only team to sign more than one of the above 25 players. I’m sure the landscape will look much different once all the above players are signed, but I find it encouraging that there are already 10 teams represented among the 11 players signed.
It is also worth mentioning that OF-Max Kepler (Germany) has signed with the Minnesota Twins. Kepler is hyped as the best prospect to ever come out of Europe, and is a descendant of famed German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler. As of right now, Cuthbert and Kepler are the only high profile international prospects to be signed by any of the AL Central teams.