It’s international signing day! That means that the Reds are free to use their international pool money to sign players that don’t require being in the draft. By and large, these are kids who are 16 or 17 years old and hail from somewhere in Latin America.
The Reds were expected to make a big splash here this year, as they have $6,431,000 to spend here, the most out of any team in MLB (tied with the Tigers, Marlins, Brewers, Twins, and Rays). Unsurprisingly, those teams are all of the teams that we’ve heard from the most today on this front.
The Reds’ class is headlined by two Dominican outfielders, both receiving more than $1M in signing bonuses. From BaseballAmerica’s tracker:
Malvin Valdez, of, Dominican Republic — $1.9 million bonus
Ariel Almonte, of, Dominican Republic — $1.85 million bonus
Brayan Rijo, of, Dominican Republic — $750,000 bonus
Luis Reyes, 3b, Venezuela
Carlos Jorge, ss, Dominican Republic — $495,000 bonus
Jose Serrano, ss, Venezuela
Eddy Izturis, c, Venezuela
Leonardo Balcazar, ss, Venezuela
Alejandro Rodriguez, rhp, Venezuela
Valdez and Almonte are both intriguing, but for different reasons. From Ben Badler comes this assessment of Malvin Valdez:
Valdez has some rawness to his game as he learns to recognize spin and make more frequent contact in games, but he’s a tool shed with premium athleticism. He’s at least a plus runner with good range in center field and the raw power to drive the ball out of the park during batting practice.
Almonte can flat-out hit. At the plate, he generates tons of backspin and can drive the ball to all fields, particularly to left-center. He has a feel for the strike zone and shows an advanced ability to recognize pitches. There’s not much swing-and-miss to his game. On defense, he projects to have a plus arm and has a chance to be an everyday right fielder in the big leagues. Like most prospects his age, Almonte is working on improving his reads and routes from both corner-outfield positions.
Also of note is Brayan Rijo as the third-most money paid to a signing. If his last name sounds familiar, it’s the same as Jose Rijo, who used to play for the Reds. I can’t find anything that indicates that they’re related. Would be pretty cool if they were, though.