NL East International Signing Forecasts
The 2017-18 international signing period opens on Sunday, July 2. Here’s what to expect from each team in the National League East and the players they’re linked to, with each club’s bonus pool in parentheses.
Atlanta Braves ($4.75 million)
Atlanta essentially did its 2017 shopping in 2016, snapping up multiple years worth of talent in one big signing class by going over their bonus pool. The Braves can’t sign anyone for more than $300,000 this year, though two of their top international prospects—Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies—both signed within that neighborhood (Albies was slightly above at $350,000). Ramon Taveras, a speedy, 5-foot-10 Dominican shortstop who might end up at second base, can sign once he turns 16 in August. He’s linked to the Braves. So are Dominican outfielder Asmin Bautista and righthander Oscar Nunez.
Miami Marlins ($5.25 million)
The Marlins will be active for some of the top players in the 2017 class, but don’t expect them to spend their full $5.25 million bonus pool, which means they could be a target for a team looking to trade up for additional bonus pool money. Dominican shortstop Ynmanol Marinez, who will probably sign for a little more than $1 million, is linked to the Marlins. The No. 18 international prospect, Marinez more than likely moves off shortstop, but scouts who liked him thought he was one of the better offensive performers in the class. They’re also expected to sign Julio Machado, a Venezuelan shortstop and the No. 31 prospect.
New York Mets ($4.75 million)
The Mets are linked to four of the top 50 international prospects, including No. 3, Dominican shortstop Ronny Mauricio. Due in part to his skinny, highly projectable frame (6-foot-2, 160 pounds), even among scouts who liked Mauricio there was a split camp about why they liked him. Some think he’s a true shortstop with soft hands and a chance to hit from both sides, while others thought he might get so big that he outgrows the position but could grow into a plus hit/plus power combination. The Mets are also linked to Dominican outfielder Adrian Hernandez, the No. 16 prospect with a more straightforward profile of excellent bat speed, athleticism and raw tools, though his baseball skills aren’t as refined as Mauricio’s. Dominican outfielder Stanly Consuegra (No. 40) and Venezuelan righthander David Marcano (No. 49) are also linked to the Mets, as are Dominican shortstop Jorge Polanco and Venezuelan outfielder Eduardo Salazar.
Philadelphia Phillies ($4.75 million)
They’re expected to sign Dominican shortstop Luis Garcia, who some scouts consider the best defensive shortstop in the class, with a bonus likely to be around $2.5 million and among the top five bonuses in the class. Garcia is the No. 12 international prospect. Under international director Sal Agostinelli, the Phillies have shrewdly identified and developed a wave of young, inexpensive pitching prospects from Latin America in recent years, and the Phillies have a few key pitching targets this year. One is Victor Vargas, a Colombian righthander several teams liked who ranks as the No. 25 prospect. They’re also linked to Venezuelan righthander Carlos Betancourt (No. 41) and Dominican righthander Israel Puello, who has been up to 92 mph and pitched well at the MLB international showcase in February. Venezuelan catcher Cesar Rodriguez (No. 42) is also connected to the Phillies, as is Venezuelan righthander Cristian Hernandez.
Washington Nationals ($4.75 million)
Sinker Helps Put Sterling Sharp On The Map
Sharp shined in the Arizona Fall League, in part because of the sinker he learned from watching video of a former Nationals reliever.
It’s the first of two penalty years for the Nationals, who can’t sign anyone for more than $300,000. They could end up with a good value in Karlo Seijas, a Venezuelan righthander they’re expected to sign. Seijas is a strike-thrower who has been up to 93 mph with a good breaking ball and ranks as the No. 49 international prospect. The Nationals are also connected to Daniel Hernandez, a lefthanded-hitting shortstop from Venezuela.