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By Jon Weisman
Today, the opening day of the new signing period for international players not subject to the MLB draft, the Dodgers announced the following signings, led by the most highly regarded pitcher in the market …
- Yadier Alvarez, RHP
— Cuba (b. March 7, 1996), 6-2, 172
— signed by Mike Tosar/Patrick Guerrero/Bob Engle
— ranked No. 2 on MLB.com international prospect list
- Starling Heredia, OF
— Dominican Republic (b. February 6, 1999), 6-1, 220
— signed by Guerrero/Franklin Taveras Jr./Manelik Pimentel
— ranked No. 5 on MLB.com international prospect list
- Ronny Brito, SS
— Dominican Republic (b. March 22, 1999), 6-0, 168
— signed by Taveras/Elvio Jimenez/Pimentel
— ranked No. 21 on MLB.com international prospect list
- Oneal Cruz, SS (bats left)
— Dominican Republic (b. October 4, 1998), 6-4, 174
— signed by Guerrero/Taveras/Engle
- Christopher Arias, OF (bats/throws left)
— Dominican Republic (b. May 1, 1999), 6-2, 182
— signed by Taveras/Pimentel/Jimenez
- Ramon Rosso, RHP
— Dominican Republic (b. June 9, 1996), 6-4, 215
— signed by Juan Garcia-Puig/Doug Skiles/Engle
- Carlos Rincon, OF
— Dominican Republic (b. October 14, 1997), 6-0, 175
— signed by Guerrero/Engle
- Luis Rodriguez, SS (switch-hitter)
— Venezuela (b. March 2, 1999), 6-0, 150
— signed by Jose Briceno/Pedro Avila
- Aldo Espinoza, 2B
— Nicaragua (b. September 11, 1998), 6-0, 168
— signed by Nemesio Porras/Luis Molina
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has more information on the international market and the players the Dodgers signed.
Here’s an excerpt of the MLB scouting report on the 19-year-old Alvarez:
Arguably the most intriguing prospect of the summer, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound right-hander from Matanzas didn’t have any professional experience in Cuba’s top league, but he burst on the scene early this year and quickly made a name for himself on the international scouting scene.
Scouts love his arm. It doesn’t hurt that Alvarez has a fastball that touches 98 mph, with a plus slider and an above-average changeup. One high-ranking National League official said Alvarez was the best 18-year-old pitcher he had ever seen. Some scouts believe Alvarez has the potential to be at least a No. 2 pitcher because of his stuff and ceiling.
He is raw and could use some polish, particularly with his command, but he’s young and has time on his side.
And here’s a snapshot of the 16-year-old Heredia:
He’s known in international circles as “Pit bull,” but Heredia is much more than a catchy nickname.
The son of a former professional baseball player — Heredia’s father played in the minors for the Mariners — Starling is considered the best corner outfield prospect in the class by some scouts, in part because of his raw power and projectable body.
Heredia also has all of the tools that scouts love, leading many to believe that could be the best total package in this year’s class. He also plays hard, puts on shows during batting practice and carries his power into games. The belief is that the team that signs him will harness his natural abilities and develop him into a complete baseball player. His favorite player is Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig, and he says he patterns his game after the Cuban star.
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