Brewers Sign Dominican Outfielder

Right Field BleachersCorrespondent IJuly 1, 2009

The Milwaukee Brewers have reportedly signed Jose Alberto Peña, a highly regarded outfield prospect from the Dominican Republic. It’s exciting news for a franchise that has historically not had much success landing major international prospects.

ESPN Magazine’s Jorge Arangure Jr. reported the signing on his Twitter account this evening.

Peña, a 16-year-old rightfielder, was called “arguably the most in-demand hitter on the market” by Kiley McDaniel of Baseball Prospectus last month.

He shows a consistent ability to make hard contact, and has big-time power, along with a frame that has many projecting 30-plus home runs in the majors. Pena also owns an above-average arm and the athleticism to become a right fielder. He gets commended for his makeup, while also being the only top prospect this year still in school, as he finished up with his finals recently.

The 6′4″, 195-pound Dominican bats and throws right. Brew Crew Ball’s Battlekow has more details:

He’s being compared to Jermaine Dye and Juan Gonzalez and wowed the scouts last month in a showcase against the Canadian Junior National Team when he homered off Jake Eliopoulos (a top-three rounds draft talent). McDaniel has Pena as the sixth-best international prospect this year and says that Pena’s expected bonus has increased from $500K to $1M-$1.5M in the last couple weeks.

Here’s a scouting report from Baseball America’s Ben Badler:

Jose Pena, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound right fielder has flashed some power in game situations from the right side of the plate, showing average speed and a plus arm. Pena has shown well in front of some teams, including a workout in front of the Dodgers’ brass and at a showcase last month in the Dominican Republic where he hit a home run off Canadian lefthander Jake Eliopoulos, the Blue Jays’ second-round pick. “He’s grown bigger and stronger,” said one scout. “He’s the kind of guy who you might get out the first time, but he adjusts and finds a way to figure it out.”

And a blurb from an ESPN Insider article from May:

“He shows some raw power and he is a decent athlete,” Dodgers assistant general manager Logan White, who attended Monday’s workout, wrote in an e-mail. Said one international scouting director of Peña: “He’s a good kid with talent and plus makeup.”

There is no word yet on what Peña got for a bonus, though it is expected to be between $500,000 and $1.5 million, which could eclipse the franchise record highest bonus for an international player ($710,000 for Rolando Pascual in 2005). For reference, the Brewers paid $450,000 to promising pitching prospect Wily Peralta and $33,000 to top prospect Alcides Escobar. (h/t Battlekow @ Brew Crew Ball)

For more, they’re discussing the signing over at too.

Good luck to the kid. Hopefully we’ll see him in Appleton soon!