Apart from the draft, this is the time of year when teams bring in most prospects for their farm systems, with the international signing period beginning on January 15. Quotas reset, and teams tend to pounce as quickly as possible, in order to get the players they want inked to them and on the books. I must confess, looking at the dates of birth, I was wondering why Arizona was signing 12-year-olds, before I realized: it’s 2023. Therefore we should be seeing players born as recently as 2006, beginning their long, arduous journey in professional baseball - even if they are younger than some of my grand-kids (albeit step-step-grand-kids - I’m not that old!). Here are details of the players in question.
D-backs 2023 international class
|Eliesbert Alejos||SS||R/R||6'0||175||16||6/9/2006||Guacara, Venezuela|
|Jeison Calvo||RHP||R/R||6'2||200||17||10/31/2005||La Chorrera, Panama|
|Anderson Cárdenas||RHP||R/R||6'2||160||16||6/21/2006||Guanare, Venezuela|
|Maicol Carrasco||RHP||R/R||5'8||180||18||12/26/2004||Santo Domingo Este, D.R.|
|Pedro Catuy||CF||R/R||6'1||150||16||2/3/2006||Colón, Panama|
|Yordin Chalas||RHP||R/R||6'3||175||18||2/22/2004||La Romana, D.R.|
|Greudis De Los Santos||RHP||R/R||6'4||175||17||11/22/2005||Santo Domingo Norte, D.R.|
|Jesus Escobar||RHP||R/R||6'0||150||16||2/28/2006||Guarenas, Venezuela|
|Leo Gallardo||C||L/R||6'0||185||17||11/2/2005||Cabimas, Venezuela|
|Luis Martínez||C||L/R||6'1||190||17||9/19/2005||Barcelona, Venezuela|
|Walvin Mena||RHP||R/R||6'1||195||17||9/30/2005||La Vega, D.R.|
|Wilkin Paredes||LHP||L/L||6'2||180||19||9/19/2003||San Gregorio de Nigua, D.R.|
|Enyervert Pérez||SS||R/R||5'11||180||17||10/20/2005||Maturín, Venezuela|
|Miguel Pérez||CF||R/R||6'0||155||16||6/1/2006||Barquisimeto, Venezuela|
|Eleomar Reyes||RHP||R/R||6'2||170||17||11/3/2005||Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela|
|Jeremy Rodríguez||SS||L/R||6'0||170||16||7/4/2006||Esperanza, D.R.|
|Kelvin Rosario||LHP||L/L||6'2||140||16||8/28/2006||Sosua, D.R.|
|Alexis Rubio||RHP||R/R||5'9||190||20||8/9/2002||San Fernando de Apure, Venezuela|
|Junior Sánchez||RHP||R/R||5'10||175||17||9/16/2005||Santo Domingo, D.R.|
|Yassel Soler||3B||R/R||5'11||185||17||1/26/2006||Santo Domingo Oeste, D.R.|
|Jose Urbina||C||R/R||5'11||195||16||5/14/2006||Maracay, Venezuela|
|Daury Vásquez||RHP||R/R||6'2||170||16||4/17/2006||San Cristobal, D.R.|
|Carlos Virahonda||C||R/R||5'11||180||17||12/13/2005||Caucagua, Venezuela|
|Gian Zapata||CF||L/L||6'4||195||17||9/13/2005||Boca Chica, D.R.|
Two of the players mentioned were listed in MLB.com’s Top 50 International Prospects list. Outfielder Gian Zapata is #18 ranked, and signed for a bonus of $950,000, while we paid $1.25 million for shortstop Jeremy Rodriguez, who is listed at #47. The third-largest signing bonus went to third-baseman Yassel Soler, who got $425,000.
D-backs with one of their top signings, Yassel Soler, 3B from the DRhttps://t.co/aEjDyrYpkH pic.twitter.com/UA81ueGaDc— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) January 16, 2023
Here are highlights from the MLB.com scouting reports for Zapata and Rodriguez:
Gian Zapata: Zapata will start in center field and stay there for most of his career. He has enough arm strength to move to right field if necessary but it’s too early to tell if he will need to make the switch. His arm projects to be a plus tool and his routes are expected to improve once he signs with a team and receives daily instruction at their academy.... At the plate, he hits line drives to all fields and shows good bat control. He shows some signs of power, and it could be a talent that develops as he fills out his frame and his body matures.
Jeremy Rodriguez: Rodriguez has tons of projectability and a good strong body, and he has a chance to be an offensive-minded shortstop with power potential. For now, his bat is a little more advanced than his glove, but he continues to make progress on both sides of the ball. He has the potential to stay at shortstop because of his solid arm, soft hands and footwork. Rodriguez hits from the left side and has shown the ability to drive the ball to all fields with authority. More power is expected as his body matures and he adds strength. He has also been praised for his makeup and baseball IQ. Rodriguez is a natural.
We’ll see how these and the others work out. Oddly, the D-backs have not had a great deal of success out of the Dominican Republic, in comparison, for example to Venezuela. While the latter has given us (by various routes!) Miguel Montero, David Peralta, Gerardo Parra and Ender Inciarte, the best position player Arizona has recruited out of the DR is currently Geraldo Perdomo. We have not much better luck out of the Dominican on the mound. Once you get past Jose Valverde, it’s down to the likes of Tony Pena, probably best known for playing as his nephew Adriano Rosario in his first two seasons of pro-ball. Hopefully, Zapata and Rodriguez can break the mold!