The International Free Agent signing has opened, the Blue Jays wasted little time scooping up five top 50 Latin prospects
While the Toronto Blue Jays fail to live up to their potential in 2017, many of their prized prospects are providing a welcomed distraction. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., recently promoted, continues to shine. Not only was he named to the Midwest All-Star team, not only did he put on a show at the HR Derby, not only was he named to the Future’s Games at the Major League All-Star weekend, but he was also named as the 2nd rated prospect by Baseball America.
The young Vladdy inked a deal with the Blue Jays in 2015 for $3.9 million as an International Free Agent (IFA). Guerrero Jr. was the 4th ranked International Prospect by MLB.com and in 2016 paid immediate dividends.
The signing of such a talent immediately improved the club’s minor league system rankings. More importantly having a Vladimir Guerrero Jr. talent in your system generates excitement within a fan base for a brighter tomorrow.
2017 IFA Signing Window Opens
The Toronto Blue Jays have been very active and very aggressive in the IFA market over the years. This year was no different. The Blue Jays were able to sign five IFA within that Top 50, ranked by MLB.com.
RHP Eric Pardinho
Parhindo is 16-yr-old and throws in the mid-90’s, touching 94 with his FB. He also throws a curve which shows plus potential. There are concerns about his 5-foot-9 frame, but at 16-yrs-old it is possible that he could add a few more inches.
SS Miguel Hiraldo
Strong with solid bat speed and an ability to show gap power, Hiraldo’s offense is ahead of his glove. Not expected to become a power bat or to stick at SS.
RHP Alejandro Melean
This 16-yr-old already possesses good mechanics that allows him to generate low 90’s FB from his 5-foot-11 frame. It was his feel for the curve that had him ranked so high.
SS Leonardo Jimenez
Gap-to-gap power with a high contact rate. Jimenez is not expected to stick at SS.
OF Alberto Rodriguez
Rodriguez is more of a roll of the dice than most IFA. He was once ranked higher, but saw his stock drop when scouts noticed his speed tool declining. There is power potential in the 5-foot-10 16-yr-old, but a lot of question marks.
According to Baseball America, the Blue Jays have also signed a bunch of non-ranked IFA. The Blue Jays really attacked the Venezuelan talent pool signing 10 more IFA from that country.
Rainer Diaz, SS, joins Miguel Hiraldo, as the lone signing out the Dominican Republic.
The following prospects were all signed out of Venezuela:
- SS, Jose Rivas
- C, Geyber Jimenez
- OF, Jhon Solarte
- RHP, Ronald Govea
- RHP, Alexis Carmona (check this guys birth certificate)
- RHP, Williams Morerno
- LHP, Erick Teran
- RHP, Miguel Olivo
- RHP, Luis Pena
There are typically many minor signings that go unmentioned, which explains why there are always a handful of names I’ve never seen before every time the DSL Blue Jays take the field for the first time. More often than not, IFA flame out in the DSL and never get a chance to play a game on American soil. Those IFA signings that don’t flame out in the DSL have a long road to travel.
Blue Jays Success
Roberto Osuna is the exception and not the rule. Signed for $1.5M as an IFA in 2011, Osuna made his MLB debut in 2015 at 20-yrs-old. From the 2011 IFA Class, Nomar Mazara, Raul A. Mondesi, and Manuel Margot being the most notable for making it to the show.
Recent Blue Jays IFA
Recent Blue Jays IFA to watch are SS Kevin Vicuna (2014), SS Yeltsin Gudino and LHP Kelyn Jose (2013), Richard Urena, Juan Kelly, and Wilfri Aleton (2012), Angel Perdomo and Emilio Guerrero (2011), and huge long shot Adonys Cardona who signed for $2.8M in 2010.
*Featured Image Credit: Rob Lockhart UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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