Mar 062014
 

It’s not as detailed as anyone would like it to be (e.g. 30 players were reportedly signed, but no complete list), but here are the highlights from the Baseball America review of the Washington Nationals International signings in 2013.

As noted previously, the CBA limited the Nationals to the smallest pool for signings for the July 2013 to June 2014 signing period ($1,846,000) thanks to its MLB-best 2012 finish. As such the Nats only exceeded the $100,000 signing figure for just four players — Anderson Franco ($900,000), Victor Robles ($225,000), Dany Rojas ($100,000) and Israel Mota ($100,000).

Franco is one the “Notable Bats” on the 2014 Watchlist, who signed on his 16th birthday last August. He’s a big kid (6’1″, 190) who features raw power and arm strength along with an advanced feel for his position (3B). The question mark is whether the Nats can fix some of the flaws (long swing, poor pitch recognition) and turn him into a true hitter.

Robles is a 17-y.o. right-handed outfielder, listed at 6′ and 180 lbs and praised for “above-average speed and a strong arm,” as well as being a “high-energy player with a high baseball IQ.”

Rojas is another 17-y.o. OF, but lefthanded and more compact at 5’10″ and 185 lbs with power to all fields. Both Robles and Rojas were July 2 signees.

Mota signed early enough to play in the DSL but only hit .215/.356/.313 in 180 PAs and will likely repeat. His best tool is his arm, which was said to be top-level (80 on the 20-80 scale).

Two 16-y.o.’s that fell short of the 100K threshhold, but were given some play in the article were Dominican southpaw Jose Jimenez and Venezuelan catcher Jose Cabello, both of whom signed for $75,000. Jimenez was clocked just shy of 90mph but at 6’1″ 170 could very well add some length as he continues to physically mature. Cabello, listed at 5’11″ and 185, is a technically sound defensive backstop with a line-drive swing.

Feb 192013
 

Some of these names have been mentioned previously over the past few months. I’d like to tell you the latest dispatch from Baseball America on the 2012 international signings gives significant information.

Alas, IFAs are much like a politicians — long on promise, short on details.

Before I editorialize, let me distill what little there is from the BA review for paid subs…

The big sign was Dominican centerfielder Luis Guzman, a 6’1″, 185-lb. left-handed hitter who turned 17 in September and went for $385K on July 2nd. He’s praised for “an advanced approach at the plate, great balance[,] and good bat speed” with plus speed and a plus arm (both 55 on the 20-80 scale).

Venezuelan Aldrem Corredor — also 17, a lefty, and listed at 6’1″, 185 — but with more power and less speed. BA is projecting him as a corner outfielder and noted his price tag at $190K.

Sixteen-year-old third baseman Neivy Pilier warranted a post in December for his youth and $225K bonus. Nothing new in terms of scouting or description.

Finally, another outfielder: Darryl Florentino who was described as a 6’2″, 180-lb speedster and praised for his athleticism. No age was given, but he was reportedly inked for $85K on July 2nd.

Of course, it’s been two years since the Nationals made a big deal about its 2010 signings and just one (Gilberto Mendez) has played north of Florida. The point, of course, is not to complain but to emphasize that despite the hype, it could be a while.

Dec 142012
 

International SignWith a H/T to Marcus for bringing this to my attention, the Nationals have signed a 16-year-old third baseman Neivy Pilier for $225,000 — the second-largest spend since the infamous 2006 signing of 16-year-old Esmailyn Gonzalez 20-year-old Carlos Alvarez.
(Centerfielder Luis Guzman was signed this past July for $385K).

Baseball America broke the news first, describing him as:

At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Pilier has a quick bat with lift and occasional power in his righthanded swing, though he’s at his best when he stays with a line-drive approach and uses the middle of the field. He has a strong arm that fits well at third base, though with his youth and size he’s still trying to improve his footwork.

Pilier reportedly turned 16 on August 1st, and according to Adam Kilgore’s post, must still undergo MLB’s vetting for age and indentity.

In other news, the Nationals continue to stockpile minor-league veterans with the signing of 27-year-old Brian Bocock, who is most likely going to see time in Syracuse next summer.

Feb 242011
 

This morning the Washington Nationals announced the signings of 16 International Free Agents, highlighted by catcher Raudy Read and outfielder Randy Novas; both are 17 years old and are right-handed batters.

Read and Novas were previously mentioned in Washington Post beat writer Adam Kilgore’s profile of the Nats’ Dominican Republic Baseball Academy earlier this month.

Here’s what the official press release had to say about Read and Novas:

Read was signed out of the Dominican Republic and has great instincts behind the plate, including exceptional hands, feet and arm strength. The 17-year-old right-handed batter has demonstrated a powerful bat with superior plate discipline. Novas, a 17-year-old from the Dominican Republic, possesses advanced tools. His speed and instincts translate to superior range in the outfield, and the right-handed batter has consistently demonstrated power to all fields.

Eleven of the other 14 signings were also from the Dominican Republic. Here’s a look at them by position, age in parentheses:

LHP – Joel Barrientos (17), Brian Escolastico (18) and Hector Silvestre (18)
RHP – Gilberto Mendez (18) and Felix Moscat (20)
CA – Pedro Severino (17)
1B – Arialdi Peguero (18)
SS – Yewri Guillen (18)
3B – Diomedes Eusebio (18)
OF – Wilman Rodriguez (19) and Dioncio Rosario (17)

The three remaining signings were from Venezuela:

RHP – Anderson Martinez (18)
CA – Jorge Tillero (17)
OF – Juan De Los Santos (17)

Updates to come if I am able to find anything else about these players.

Unlikely. Thus far, searching on the names has been like the Grinch in his lair.