2020 MLB International Prospects Preview: Million Dollar Outfielders
So far, 30 players have signed for at least $1 million during the current 2019-20 international signing period.
For the 2020-21 period that opens on July 2, that number will probably jump to around 40 players. If you're a Baseball America subscriber, you can read reports and watch videos on some of the top international prospects in the 2020 class, including Dominican shortstop Cristian Hernandez and Venezuelan shortstop Carlos Colmenarez, two of the elite 2020 prospects. More reports on other top 2020 players can be found here.
Below are some international prospects expected to sign seven-figure deals once July 2 arrives, with a focus here on some of the notable outfielders to watch for 2020.
Pedro Leon, OF, Cuba
Leon is a 21-year-old outfielder who had an open showcase today at the Giants academy in the Dominican Republic. Now, multiple sources have said Leon is expected to sign with the Astros for around $4 million when the 2020-21 signing period opens on July 2. I'm going to wait until I see Leon in person before writing more extensively about him, but a $4 million bonus would be among the highest in the 2020 class and possibly the top bonus for a 2020 player.
Yeison Morrobel, OF, Dominican Republic
Morrobel, who trains with Edgar Mercedes, is an athletic 6-foot-1, 170-pound outfielder who is expected to sign with the Rangers for close to $2 million. Morrobel stands out for his projectable, athletic build and feel for hitting from the left side. He has shown a knack for barreling the ball with a line-drive approach and gap power, but with the physical upside to grow into more pop once he packs on weight. He's an average runner who could play either center field or move to a corner depending on how his speed and body develop.
Shalin Polanco, OF, Dominican Republic
During the current 2019-20 signing period, the Pirates spread their spending around to a wide range of prospects, with their top bonus ($850,000) going to Dominican righthander Cristopher Cruz. In 2020, the Pirates' biggest signing is likely to be Polanco, a Dominican outfielder expected to sign for around $2.5 million. The scouts highest on Polanco like his lefthanded bat and power potential. He trains with Sandy Nin.
Ariel Almonte, OF, Dominican Republic
The Reds are linked to two Dominican outfielders expected to be among the highest paid players in the 2020 class. One is Malvin Valdez, an athletic, tooled-up player who still has some rawness to his game. The other is Almonte, a 6-foot-4 lefty whose price tag looks to be in the $1.5 to $2 million range. Almonte has a short stroke for his size with good pitch recognition and easy power. His plus arm should fit in right field. He trains with German.
Miguel Bleis, OF, Dominican Republic
Bleis, who trains in the Mejia Top 10 program, is expected to sign with the Red Sox for a bonus that should come close to $2 million, making him Boston's top 2020 international signing. Bleis is one of the better athletes in the class. He has a lean, lively 6-foot-2 frame with high physical upside to grow into more power and possibly even more speed (he's around an average runner, but with long, graceful strides) and a strong arm in center field.