Magic Johnson and left-hander Hyu-Jin Ryu
On Monday, the Los Angeles Dodgers announced that they have signed four prospects from the Dominican Republic. The organization has emerged as an aggressive presence in the international market over the last year.
Because they signed Cuban defector Yasiel Puig to a seven-year, $42 million contract in late June, the Dodgers weren’t subject to the $2.9 million spending limit that was ushered in with Major League Baseball’s latest collective bargaining agreement.
The organization also signed Korean left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu to a six-year, $36 million contract in early December after winning negotiation rights with a $25.7 million bid. Given his age and experience, Ryu, like Puig, was also exempt from the spending restrictions.
So, with $2.9 million remaining to spend on international players, the Dodgers finally made a splash this week by signing four 17-year-old prospects: shortstop Ravel Hernandez, right-handed pitcher Miguel Urena, and outfielders Ariel Sandoval and Deivy Castillo.
Signed for $150,000, as reported by Baseball America's Ben Badler, Sandoval is the most advanced of the four players. At 6’2”, 180 pounds, he possesses present strength with the room to add more as he matures. A right-handed hitter, Sandoval’s bat seems solid, though it’s difficult to gauge his potential without professional experience. Although he’ll continue to be developed as a center fielder, Sandoval’s average speed and above-average arm strength may make him a better fit for a corner outfield spot.
Beyond Sandoval, though, there’s an unfortunate lack of information and analysis regarding the quality of the other three prospects signed by the Dodgers this week.
Therefore, once news inevitably emerges about each prospect and their respective contract, I’ll be sure to update the article.