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  • Brewers Busy on Day 1 of 2023 International Free Agent Signing Period

    Seth Stohs

    Every year, MLB ballclubs scout players all over the world. They get to know intriguing prospects from the Caribbean, South America, Australia, and around the globe. On Sunday, teams could start signing players who had turned 16 years old. The Milwaukee Brewers were one of the busiest teams in baseball. 

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    For the 2022 international signing period, the Brewers' pool stands at $6,366,900. On the first day, the Brewers signed 29 players. We don't know for certain what the total expenditure for the day was, but we know three of the values. 

    The goal, of course, is to find the next Jackson Chourio or Abner Uribe?

    The Brewers signed three players that were among MLB Pipeline's Top 35 international period prospect rankings. 

    Number 22 on their rankings was outfielder Yophery Rodriguez from the Dominican Republic. He signed with the Brewers for $1.5 million. He just turned 17 in early December and is a very toolsy player. He has a good feel for hitting and over time he could develop a lot of power. He's got a good approach to the strike zone and has been training with former big leaguers Carlos Guillen. How much will he grow, and how much strength will he gain? That may determine whether he remains a viable centerfield option. 

    Filippo Di Turri ranked #33 by MLB Pipeline. He is a shortstop from Venezuela who turned 17 early in November. He's all about projection. He stands about 5-10 and weighs in at just 150 pounds, maybe. Di Turri is a very solid all-around player already at this stage. He has really good instincts at shortstop to go with soft hands, quick feet and range, and a strong arm. While he is not very big and will have to gain a lot of strength over the coming years, scouts have been impressed by his swing from both sides of the plate and believe that he could develop some power from both sides. 

    The Brewers also signed MLB Pipeline's #35 international prospect, shortstop Kevin Ereu on Sunday. Another shortstop from Venezuela, Ereu won't turn 17 until the end of May. He is already 5-11 and 170 pounds. While he is very solid and makes the routine plays at shortstop, and they will want to keep him there as long as they can, he may be a guy who switches positions down the line. He is right-handed and hits the ball hard from gap-to-gap and has already exhibited the ability to hit the ball over the fence. 

    Both Di Turri and Ereu signed for between $1.2 million and $1.3 million. 

    With these three top prospects, the Brewers have accounted for approximately $4 million. That leaves an additional $2.2 million or so to spend. 

    Here are 26 other players that the Brewers signed on Sunday: 

    Nestor Mena, RHP, Nicaragua
    Saul Sanchez, RHP, Nicaragua
    Melvin Hernandez, RHP, Nicaragua
    Enniel Cortez, RHP, Nicaragua
    Jesus Flores, RHP, Venezuela
    Eric Prado, RHP, Mexico
    Gabriel Colmenarez, RHP, Venezuela
    Aldrin Gonzalez, RHP, Venezuela
    Luis Guevara, RHP, Venezuela
    Linbel Jimenez, RHP, Dominican Republic
    Lenin Mendez, RHP, Dominican Republic
    Ismael Yanez, RHP, Venezuela
    Oliver Camilo, RHP, Dominican Republic

    Freider Rojas, C, Venezuela

    Luis Lameda, SS, Venezuela
    Luiyin Alastre, SS, Venezuela
    Pedro Ibarguen, SS/OF, Venezuela
    Joan Gutierrez, SS, Venezuela
    John Bencosme, SS, Dominican Republic
    Eduardo Charles, SS, Dominican Republic
    Roderick Flores, SS, Dominican Republic
    Tyler Rodriguez, SS, Dominican Republic

    Pedro Tovar, OF, Venezuela
    Danny Puerta, OF, Colombia
    Smarlin Espinal, OF, Dominican Republic
    Antony Gomez, OF, Dominican Republic

    It is very hard to find shortstops. That is why you see teams sign dozens of shortstops knowing how difficult it is to develop big-league shortstops. Sign a bunch. Let them play a lot at shortstop and other places. Athletes can always move around. But finding guys who will hit enough while playing good shortstop defense is very difficult. 

    As for pitchers, we are still talking about 16 to 18-year-old kids. You can't just look at velocity. Scouts look at a pitcher's frame, their height, their mechanics. It's really a lot like scouting high school players. You are trying to find players that you think can develop into big leaguers in the next six to eight years. 

    While most of the Brewers' Day 1 signings come from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, they signed guys from other countries too. They also signed an outfielder from Colombia and a pitcher from Mexico.

    They also signed four pitchers from Nicaragua, a country that hasn't exactly been a hotbed for baseball talent. Seven players from Nicaragua signed with MLB organizations on Sunday. 

    Enniel Cortez is fairly experienced. He has pitched professionally in Nicaragua. He tops out around 92 right now and is said to have a tremendous slider. Melvin Hernandez is also 5-11. He went on a tour of the Dominican in November and showed a fastball at 92 and the ability to spin a couple of really good breaking pitches. Nestor Mena stands 6-1. He is a little bit more raw than some other pitchers. However, he has worked very hard and now it touching 90 mph with his fastball and has developed a big curveball as well. Saul Sanchez is 5-11 and also hits 90 mph. 

    The search will continue and teams can sign eligible players within their allotment throughout the year. 



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  • Posted

    6 minutes ago, Brock Beauchamp said:

    Four pitchers from Nicaragua? That's wild. That country isn't exactly a hotbed of MLB talent.

    As Nicaraguan pitchers Carlos F. Rodriguez (drafted after moving to US), Stiven Cruz and Alexander Vallecillo continue to progress, we should maintain this recruiting edge in Nicaragua and hopefully unearth some talent.

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    7 minutes ago, damuelle said:

    As Nicaraguan pitchers Carlos F. Rodriguez (drafted after moving to US), Stiven Cruz and Alexander Vallecillo continue to progress, we should maintain this recruiting edge in Nicaragua and hopefully unearth some talent.

    It'd be cool to see, for sure! I spent a few weeks in Nicaragua a year or two before their civil war. To say that country is poor understates the word "poor". Lovely people, lovely country, abject poverty even by central American standards.

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