OTHER PROMINENT INTERNATIONAL SIGNEES
The Nationals signed Cuban RHP Yuneski Maya (28) to a 4-year major league contract worth $8M on 07/31/2010. In the 48th Cuban National Series that ended last year (2009), Maya (pictured) ended second to Aroldys Chapman in strikeouts, 119 to 130, but outdistanced the younger pitcher in the league’s equivalent of the Cy Young, thanks to Maya’s superior overall stats: 13-4, seven complete games, and a 2.22 ERA in 145 IP. In six Cuban campaigns, Maya managed a 48-29 record with a 2.51 ERA and was also lights-out in both of his brief appearances at the WBC. The Braves signed Cuban outfielder Yasser Gomez. He will not receive a big bonus from the Braves. Gomez defected from Cuba late in 2008, at which point at least one scout considered him major league ready. At that time, he was described as a speedy outfielder who had hit for high averages in Cuba. Gomez, who is about 30 years old, was declared a free agent last summer. He has international experience with the Cuban national team. 2010 stats: .323/.411/.346 in 38 games at Mississippi (AA). The Reds signed 25-year-old Cuban OF Felix Perez to a minor league deal worth $550K. MLB suspended Perez for one year for lying about his age and reinstated him in October of last year. Perez agreed to a deal with the Yankees in the spring of 2009 with a signing bonus in the range of $3MM to $3.5MM. Upon discovering the age discrepancy, the Bombers broke off talks. He hit a combined .322/.381/.438 with 11 SB in 67 games at three levels (DSL/A+/AA) in his first season in affiliated ball. The Diamondbacks officially signed 17-year-old Dominican prospect Wagner Mateo to a deal worth $512K. The deal is an expected drop from the $3.1MM deal that Mateo signed with St. Louis last July. That contract was voided by the club out of concerns about Mateo’s vision. 2010 stats: .257/.359/.401 with 16 SB in 67 games in the DSL (Rookie). Houston has signed two of the top arms from the Dominican Republic, 16-year-old righthander Michael Feliz and 17-year-old righthander Jose Montero. Feliz’s deal is worth $400K while Montero will reportedly earn $350K. Feliz reached agreement with the A’s on a deal worth $800K in the offseason, but Oakland voided the deal upon the pitcher testing positive for an anabolic steroid and receiving a 50-game suspension. Scouts who have kept tabs on the hurler this year say that he was regularly hitting 92-93 mph on the radar gun before the positive drug test but has been topping out at 91 mph in recent months. 2010 stats: 0-1, 4.26 ERA in 3 starts in the DSL (Rookie). Montero can pitch at 89-92 mph and has hit 93 mph on the radar gun for some scouts. 2010 stats: 1-3, 2.59 ERA in 13 starts in the DSL (Rookie). The Pirates continued their recent surge of Latin American signings by adding Dominican RHP Yhonatan Herrand for $185K. He’s a potential power arm, with a 93-95 mph fastball backed by two plus breaking pitches (change-up and curveball) and a delivery that his coach compares to a young Pedro Martinez. 2010 stats: 2-3, 5.40 ERA in 13 games (six starts) in the DSL (Rookie). The Cardinals have come to an agreement on a $1.5MM deal with 18-year-old Dominican righthander Carlos Matias (Martinez). Matias was one of the best pitchers available on the international market this year. Matias is under contract with the team, but he still has to clear some hurdles before receiving his money. MLB must first verify his age and identity, and the U.S. consulate must grant him a visa before the deal can be made official and the bonus paid. Matias had previously reached an agreement with the Red Sox for $160K, but he was suspended for a year after failing an MLB investigation. The righty routinely sits at 97-99 mph. He has been outstanding in the Dominican Summer League (0.76 ERA, 11.9 K/9).The Red Sox signed catcher Adalberto Ibarra (23) to a minor league deal for a bonus between $700,000 and $800,000. Ibarra had originally agreed to terms on a five-year major league deal with a guarantee of $3 million and incentives that could push the value of the deal to $4.3 million. But the catcher, who defected from Cuba last year, failed his physical in late June due to what was deemed a relatively minor issue. Still, both sides wanted to work out a deal. S. Diego signed Dominican Duanel Jones (17), 3B: Jones has been described by some evaluators as a big, strong third baseman with good power and an above-average arm. He will serve a 50-game suspension for violating baseball’s minor league drug policy. He had reportedly signed with the Giants in December for $1.3MM, but they voided the contract a month later over the failed drug test. He was signed in May for $0.9M signing bonus. In Feb. 2010, the Braves signed 19-year-old Dominican shortstop Edward Salcedo to a deal worth $1.6M. He was considered one of the best prospects in Latin America back in 2008, however MLB launched an investigation to confirm his age and identity at the Braves’ behest. He is an above-average runner with a plus arm and above-average bat speed. Salcedo hit .225/.239/.295 between Rookie and A level in 2010. The Royals signed 18-year-old SS Orlando Calixte back in January for a $1M signing bonus. He got in 66 ABs in the Dominican Summer league batting: 227/350/318. He is supposed to be a good fielder who can handle the bat. The Yankees signed Dominican RHP Jose Rafael DePaula (19) for $500,000. One of the top unsigned pitchers in Latin America since 2008, DePaula was suspended for one year in May 2009 by MLB for misrepresenting his date of birth. DePaula has a plus fastball that has been clocked in the mid-90s. He also flashes a good breaking ball with sharp bite and shows solid mechanics. In February 2011, the Yankees inked Dominican RHP Juan Carlos Paniagua (20) for $1.1M; He owns a mid-90s fastball that touches 98 mph and had previously been suspended by MLB for one year for age and identity fraud. In January 2010, the Rangers signed 17-year-old Colombian catcher Jorge Alfaro for $1.3 million (the highest ever for a player from Colombia). Alfaro is a touted youngster with good power and a strong arm. The Rangers have assigned him to the Dominican Summer League. In Feb. 2010, the Cubs signed 17-year-old RHP Jin-Young Kim tor a $850K bonus. The Korean hurler reportedly hits 92 mph on the gun, and is just out of high school. Texas inked OF Hirotoshi Onaka (Japan) on 12/15/2010; he was not selected in the NPB draft. A switch-hitter, Onaka (22) played center field the past two years after beginning his college career as a shortstop. The Rangers also inked Nick Urbanus, IF (Netherlands): The 18-year-old Dutch middle infielder, who played for the Hoofdklasse club L&D Amsterdam Pirates will join the Rangers affiliate in the Arizona Summer League (Rookie Level) next June after graduating from Johan Cruyff College back home. His father and grandfather are Dutch greats and won multiple MVP awards in the Netherlands. Urbanus made his debut in the Hoofdklasse in 2009 at the age of 17. Later that year he also played for the Senior National Team at the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam. In 2010 he batted .236 (OBP .278/SLG .287) with one triple, six doubles, 17 runs scored and 19 RBI in 42 games for the Pirates, where his father is the head coach. A scouting report on Urbanus (Source NPB Tracker): He is a shortstop with very good instincts and plus makeup. Defensively he’ll be a very good middle infielder. Maybe he’ll be forced to second base for his arm … He’s got very good hands and feet. He’s also a good athlete with a line drive swing to all fields. Lacks some power, but will hit his share of doubles and squares most pitches off.