Mariners’ reported international signings include pair ranked in top 50
Friday marked the first day of baseball’s international signing period, with teams including the Mariners finalizing deals that have been arranged in advance.
International spending pools were assigned back in June with the highest availability set at $6,431,000 and the lowest $1,572,700 (that figure belonging to the Braves, who were penalized for prior signing violations). The Mariners fall in the middle of the pack with a pool amount of $5,348,100, which is the same for the rest of the AL West minus the Angels, who are capped at $4,372,700.
The international signs do not draw nearly the attention of those who are selected in the MLB Draft as the players involved are in large part much younger, less projectable and further from the big leagues. Nonetheless, adding international talent is of importance when it comes to organization building, so with the future in mind it is worth taking a look.
While the Mariners have yet to confirm, Baseball America reports Seattle has signed nine players, two of which fall in the publication’s top 50 signing bonus list. Starlin Aguilar, a shortstop/third baseman who turns 17 later this month, comes in at No. 24 with BA liking his left-handed swing and potential for power. Of note on Aguilar, he has trained in the Domincan Republic with the trainer whose program produced Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers and Tampa Bay’s Wander Franco, baseball’s No. 1 overall prospect.
Gabriel Gonzales, an outfielder out of Venezuela, is the other Mariners signing in the top 50 – he lands at No. 30. According to BA, the 17 year old “has a good track record of hitting and hitting for power against live pitching, with an aggressive approach and swing that might ultimately lead to a power-over-hit profile.”
Interestingly enough neither of these players were listed on MLB Pipeline’s top 30, which is based on talent evaluation. The discrepancies between the lists are not surprising as projecting 16 and 17 year olds is far from an exact science with the signing teams no doubt possessing more looks and information. At the top of the lists there is a bit more consensus, and this is worth taking note of when looking at the rest of the division moving forward with a couple of Mariners rivals netting some very big names.
The Astros have signed outfielder Pedro Leon, who was ranked the No. 1 international talent by Baseball America and was seventh on MLB Pipeline, and the A’s picked up Pedro Pineda, an outfielder who was ranked 11th by Baseball America and 13th on MLB Pipeline. Both have major talent potential and should give a boost to their respective farm systems. Both signings also required the majority of their team’s spending pools, however. Time will tell which approach benefits each club more but for now, a couple of rival names to keep an eye on.