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Diamondbacks active in international signing period

Things got under way today, with a flurry of action, including two well-ranked outfielders reported joining Arizona.

MLB’s international signing period got under way today. Why does this matter? Because it’s the start of the window when teams can sign young players outside of the draft process - typically from Central and South America. These players tend to be very young - the minimum age is just sixteen - so are clearly a long way from becoming impact members of the major leagues. But they can still command large signing bonuses, well into seven figures. Teams are given a pool of money to allocate. It used to be a soft cap, subject to penalties if breached e.g. Yasmany Tomas. It’s now a hard cap, but teams are able to carry out trades which include pool money, so can add up to 60% of their limit.

The amount depends on various factors, e.g. it’s reduced if a team signs a free-agent who rejected a qualifying offer. This year, Arizona’s pool is $7,114,800, which puts them in the top tier. So far, reports have them signing three players of note. Adriel Rodney and Belfi Rivera are both outfielders from the Dominican Republic, while another Dominican, shortstop Alfredo Benzan has also inked with the Diamondbacks. Rodney was ranked the #10 prospect for the period by MLB Pipeline, and cost the team $1.85 million, while Benzan received $550K. No word as yet on what Rivera, the #24 prospect, received. Below, you’ll find quick scouting reports on both Rodney and Rivera.

Both of them initially profile as center fielders, though there are questions as to whether they may end up moving to a corner outfield spot. Rodney may only have turned sixteen lst June, but he’s already 6’1” and is drawing comparisons to Julio Rodriguez. He probably will need to add muscle, coming in at a lanky 176 lbs, and that would likely increase his power. Rivera is a few months older, having turned seventeen last month, and is even skinnier, weighing a mere 160 lbs. MLB Pipeline say he has “tons of upside”, praising his quick hands as well as his work ethic.

[Update] Here's the full list of players signed by the Diamondbacks on the day, according to the team.

Diamondbacks International Class of 2024

Luis Andujar RHP R/R 6'2 160 18 8/16/2005 Puerto Plata, D.R.
Oscar Aponte CF R/R 511 160 17 10/16/2006 Villa Hermosa, D.R.
Angel Beltran RHP R/R 6'4 230 16 7/13/2007 Cartagena, Colombia
Alfredo Benzan SS S/R 6'2 165 16 4/21/2007 Azua, D.R.
Pedro Blanco OF L/R 6'1 205 16 4/22/2007 Bajos de Haina, D.R.
Anderson Custodio OF R/R 6'2 165 17 11/13/2006 La Romana, D.R.
Erick De La Cruz SS R/R 6'0 160 17 11/15/2006 Peravia, D.R.
Alonso Gallegos SS R/R 5'9 150 16 2/23/2007 Heroica Puebla de Zaragoza, Mexico
Robert Lantigua C L/R 5'8 175 16 5/24/2007 Santo Domingo Centro, D.R.
Raily Liriano OF R/R 6’2 160 17 1/9/2007 Santo Domingo Centro, D.R.
Alan Marcano RHP R/R 6'4 175 16 4/24/2007 Punta de Mata, Venezuela
Alexis Marin RHP R/R 6'6 205 19 9/18/2004 Maiquetia, Venezuela
Carlos Molina C R/R 6'0 170 16 4/25/2007 Caracas, Venezuela
Neiker Palacios RHP R/R 6'1 170 17 11/4/2006 Ocumare, Venezuela
Wilmeyber Penuela UTL S/R 510 165 17 10/18/2006 Caracas, Venezuela
Adriel Radney CF R/R 6'3 180 16 6/23/2007 Samana, D.R.
Santiago Ramos C L/R 510 170 17 1/3/2007 Acarigua, Venezuela
Belfi Rivera CF L/L 6'0 165 17 12/16/2006 Santo Domingo Oeste, D.R.
Jose Rodriguez C R/R 5'8 175 16 4/11/2007 Barquisimeto, Venezuela
Stiven Rogers RHP R/R 6'2 170 17 1/20/2007 Santo Domingo Este, D.R.
Kyle Sinzza SS R/R 5'9 160 16 4/11/2007 Caracas, Venezuela
Josdanner Suarez RHP R/R 6'3 170 19 10/4/2004 Higuerote, Venezuela
Modesto Vargas RHP R/R 6'2 195 19 12/14/2004 Azua, D.R.

As mentioned, don’t expect to hear much about any of these players for several years. They’ll likely start off at Arizona’s recently-built complex (artist’s rendering, top) in the Dominican, as part of the DSL where the D-backs have two teams. If the signings perform well there, expect to see them in the continental United States for the 2025 season, progressing through the ranks thereafter. If you want a rough yardstick, Dominican Geraldo Perdomo signed as a 16-year-old with Arizona in July 2016, but didn’t make his MLB debut until almost five years later at the start of 2021. So, if any of these guys appear before 2029, they’ll be doing well! Still, names to file away for future reference...