Yesterday, Baseball America started reviewing the International signings of each club, starting with the National League East. During these annual reviews, they summarize each team’s IFA signings, mainly those that happen during the July 2nd signing period.That is when the teams sign players 16 and over to play professionally.
Many of the big-name Dominican, Venezuelan, Colombian, and Panamanian names that you know came from signings that happen during the July 2nd signing period, and usually the players in period with the highest bonuses play for minor league teams and affiliates stateside. The others play in the Dominican and Venezuelan summer leagues and are evaluated on whether or not they are ready to plat in the United States the following year.
Baseball America highlighted seven of the 22 players signed by the Mets:
The highest bonus the Mets gave last year belonged to outfielder Ricardo Cespedes for $725,000. The Mets were very pleased by buscon (or trainer) Jhoan Carmona, who had trained top prospect and franchise bonus signing Amed Rosario. They were pleased enough to scout other players, and followed the progress of Cespedes. He was one of the youngest players signed after the period, and signed on August 24th when he turned 16 years old. Cespedes has a good bat path and physical upside, but has profiled as a left-handed line drive bat, contrasting from Rosario’s raw power. He is already 6’2” with 185 pounds and will add strength, which will help him in the long run. He’s an average runner, and is projected as a center fielder.
Ali Sanchez from Venezuela was the second-best Catcher on the market after Jose Herrera, and signed for $690,000. The 17 year old catcher is 6’1” with 185 pounds, and has very advanced catch-and-throw skills, good footwork, quick hands, and an average arm, with a fast release and is very accurate. He controls the running game very well. He hits for contact, and uses the opposite field, but some scouts are down on his bat. He still has time, being very young.
On July 2nd, the Mets signed Shortstop Yeffry de Aza for $475,000. He is listed at 6 feet tall and 170 pounds, and has some surprising power sometimes. He performed well in-game, but needs to work on pitch recognition and off-speed pitches. He has average speed, and an average arm, so some think he will not stay at shortstop for long.
The Mets also surprised many, signing Venezuelan Shortstop Luis Carpio for $300,000 who was considered to be a very underrated player. He signed when he turned 16 on July 11th. He stands at 6 Feet, 165 pounds, with a line-drive hitting stroke from the right side. He won’t hit for much power, but his game will be about getting on base, which will certainly make up for it. He is a plus runner, who runs a 60-yard dash in 6.6 seconds. He has okay hands at shortstop but not as great footwork, and a fringe-average arm, leading some to believe he will switch to second base or the outfield. He has good makeup and a great work ethic.
Another Venezuelan, Righthanded Pitcher Luis Silva, signed for $275,000 on July 2nd at 17 years old. He stands at 6’2” 170, and pitches from a full-windup, and has good control. He throws from 88-92 miles per hour and sometimes get up to 94. His changeup is advanced and he has a curve that currently lags behind that travels around 74-78 miles per hour.
Another signing, that actually happened during the previous signing period but wasn’t reported on last year by Baseball America until now was a $140,000 signing to Catcher Walter Rasquin. The 5’9” 185 pound 17 year old tried out at 3rd base for teams, but his small, stocky build called for a move to behind the plate. He’s a work in progress as a catcher, but is a switch-hitter with some good bat speed, and hits good line-drives.
They also signed an older pitcher in February, 2013 in Scarlyn Reyes for $25,000. The Dominican right-hander turned 22 in November is 6’3” 190, dominated the Dominican Summer League with a 1.41 ERA in 64 innings, with 56 strikeouts and 18 walks. The only pitch that Baseball America lists is his fastball that sits at 92-94 and touches 97.
There’s some good potential here. Sure, the Mets did not sign any of the big-names like Arizona Catcher Jose Herrera, or Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez, but there are many cases of players with low signing bonuses making large impacts as well.
After a strong focus on the position in the last three years, it looks like the Mets did not sign any true shortstops this year, but focused more on athletic players. Luis Carpio is very intriguing with his plus speed, contact and on-base abilities. Look for him to switch to center field in a few years and bat leadoff on a few minor league teams while moving up the ladder. Also, it is likely that Scarlyn Reyes will find himself stateside this coming year, likely in Kingsport, and possibly on the fast track as an older player.
The Mets have emphasized scouting in Venezuela, even after shutting down their academy due to violence; four out of seven of their signings came from that country.
These scouting reports seem vague, but keep in mind, it’s very hard to really project what many players are going to be at 16, and how they are going to fill out. Also, even for Baseball America, it is hard to find enough information about these players by their deadline.