The Texas Rangers made a splash in the pool of foreign players on Monday, inking 16-year-old shortstop Yeyson Yrizarri to a $1.375 million deal, according to Ben Badler Baseball America. At 16 years old, Yrizarri will have plenty of time to develop in the minors before getting sent to the majors.
So, what exactly did Texas get in signing Yrizarri?
Yrizarri is the seventh-ranked international prospect, according to Baseball America (subscription required), but his raw tools will make him a work in progress.
He reportedly brings a nice, smooth swing to the table, but he offers little to the opposite side of the field right now. His tendencies are to hit in the middle of the field while also powering balls deep into the gap, but that can easily change for a player as young as Yrizarri.
Defensively, he is reported to have just average speed, which could lead to a position change down the road, most likely at second or third base. His strong arm could make him a great candidate to play the hot corner one day.
While he may change positions eventually, for now, the Rangers have added more depth to an already-talented shortstop position.
Yrizarri has baseball in his blood. His brother, Deibi Yrizarri, is currently with the Washington Nationals, working in their minor league system with the Dominican Summer League. In addition to his brother, his uncle is former major league shortstop Deivi Cruz.
If there is one reason to get excited about the Rangers signing of Yrizarri, it could be their success in developing other top shortstops. Texas has one of the best young shortstops in the game in Elvis Andrus, who signed an eight-year, $120 million deal this offseason, per Todd Willis of ESPNDallas.com.
It hasn't been announced where Yrizarri will begin his career with the Rangers. He is a Venezuelan-born player who spent most of his life living and playing in the Dominican Republic, so it would make sense for him to also join Texas' Dominican Summer League team.
It could be a long time before we see Yrizarri in the majors, but any time a team can bring in a top-10 prospect, there is reason for optimism.
Note: All stats and info courtesy of BaseballAmerica.com, MLBTradeRumors.com and ESPN.com.
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