10 International Prospects Pressured to Sign Big Deals by July 2 MLB Deadline

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterJune 26, 2012

10 International Prospects Pressured to Sign Big Deals by July 2 MLB Deadline

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    Due to Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement, international prospects are now forced to sign a big-league contract by July 2. While some already have tentative deals in place, such as Jairo Beras with the Texas Rangers (pending the MLB's approval), others will be scrambling until minutes before the deadline to find a potential suitor.

    While recent international signees such as Jorge Soler and Yoenis Cespedes are already in their 20s with considerable experience, many of the players on this list have recently celebrated their 16th birthday and therefore will need extensive time to hone their skills before cracking a minor league roster.

    Here are 10 international prospects to follow closely as the July 2nd signing deadline approaches. 

Gustavo Cabrera

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    Country: Dominican Republic

    Position: OF

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 190 pounds

    DOB: 1/23/1996

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    A tremendous athlete who possesses an assortment of impressive tools, Cabrera has impressive raw power to all fields and a balanced, repeatable swing. His plus speed is noticeable both in the outfield where he has considerable range, and on the base paths where he is an aggressive, but smart runner.

    Cabrera also has a strong arm, which is more than enough to handle right field in the major leagues.

Jairo Beras

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    Country: Dominican Republic

    Position: OF

    Height/Weight: 6’5”, 178 pounds

    DOB: 12/25/1995

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Arguably the most intriguing of all the elite international prospects, Beras has the profile of a legitimate five-tool player. A right-handed hitter, he possesses plus bat speed and power, and has a frame capable of adding exceptional strength as he ages.

    His speed and arm give him the potential to play any of the three outfield positions, although I would expect him to stick in center until he loses a step.

    After news broke that the Texas Rangers had a $4.5 million deal in place to sign the Dominican outfielder, Major League Baseball began an investigation into the validity of his documentation.

    Beras’ birth certificate listed his date of birth as December 25, 1995 making him ineligible to sign a contract until after the July 2 international signing deadline. However, the Rangers insist that he’s actually 17, meaning that he is signable prior to that date.

    Even with the deadline less than a week away, Major League Baseball is yet to rule on the matter.

Franklin Barreto

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    Country: Venezuela

    Position: SS

    Height/Weight: 5’9”, 174 pounds

    DOB: 2/27/1996

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Barreto is the prototypical Venezuelan middle infielder cut from a similar mold as Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Guillen. An excellent defensive shortstop, he exhibits smooth actions to go along with soft hands and a strong arm.

    At the plate, the right-handed hitter employs a mature approach, never trying to do too much while lacing the ball to all fields. He may never hit for anything more than average power, but his hit tool should offer considerable value.

Nathaneal Javier

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    Country: Dominican Republic

    Position: 3B

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 185 pounds

    DOB: 10/10/1995

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Javier has both the size and tools to be a special talent, as he also comes from a family with big-league bloodlines. A right-handed hitter, he has wiry strength and a quick bat that should allow him to hit for both average and power down the road.

    In fact, there’s a chance that Javier may even hit for plus power as he continues to develop physically. 

Wendell Rijo

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    Country: Dominican Republic

    Position: MIF

    Height/Weight: 5’11”, 170 pounds

    DOB: 9/04/1995

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Although he lacks a projectable frame and a distinguishable plus tool, Rijo is an all-around talent with a high baseball IQ. An instinctual player who takes pride in everything he does on the field, Rijo is a slick defender with excellent range in all directions, fluid actions and a strong arm.

    At the moment, Rijo profiles as a bottom-of-the-order, defense-oriented middle infielder, but he has both the strength and work ethic to be a solid big-league hitter down the road.

Amaurys Minier

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    Country: Dominican Republic

    Position: SS

    Height/Weight: 6’2”, 190 pounds

    DOB: 1/30/1996

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    Minier is a highly intriguing switch hitter who flashes plus power from both sides of the plate. At the moment, he will remain at shortstop, however, his thicker build suggests that he may not be able to stay there for long and could wind up at a corner position.

Alexander Palma

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    Country: Venezuela

    Position: OF

    Height/Weight: 6’0", 200 pounds

    DOB: 10/18/1995

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    An impressive athlete who seems to be continually adding strength, Palma has the potential to hit for plus power due to his bat speed and aggressiveness at the plate. He’s not a burner, but his speed plays up in both the outfield and on the base paths due to his instincts. He has a plus arm, so it’s conceivable that he’ll be a right fielder in the major leagues.

Yasiel Puig

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    Country: Cuba

    Position: OF

    Height/Weight: 6’3”, 210 pounds

    Age: 21

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    The 21-year-old Puig has defected from Cuba and is trying to rapidly establish free agency in Mexico. Once he has done so, Puig can be declared a free agent and sign before the signing deadline on July 2.

    At 6’3”, 210 pounds, Puig is a physical specimen, but nothing along the lines of Yoenis Cespedes. His best tool is his plus speed, which allows him to profile in center field until his size moves him elsewhere.

    At the dish, he’s just an average hitter with slightly above-average power, and will need to refine his plate discipline if he enters a team’s system.

Frandy De La Rosa

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    Country: Dominican Republic

    Position: SS

    Height/Weight: 6’1”, 180 pounds

    DOB: 1/24/1996

    Bats/Throws: S/R

     

    A switch-hitter, De La Rosa is advanced from both sides of the plate for a player his age. He’s a slap hitter who uses the whole field, though he may never hit for much power. At shortstop he has soft hands and good instincts, though he doesn’t show particularly impressive range and may have an arm better suited for second base.

Luis Torrens

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    Country: Venezuela

    Position: 3B

    Height/Weight: 6’0", 170 pounds

    DOB: 5/2/1996

    Bats/Throws: R/R

     

    It’s hard to say which is the more impressive facet of Torrens’ game, his defense or bat. He’s an above-average defender at the hot corner, however he may not have the speed or agility to remain there.

    As a right-handed hitter, he has the potential to hit for plus power down the road thanks to a quick bat and compact swing, though only time will dictate the development of his hit tool.