The July 2 International signing period has come and San Diego Padres general manager A.J. Preller certainly hasn’t disappointed Padres fans. The team signed 16 total players in the first few hours and six out of the top 30 ranked amateurs.
The San Diego Padres farm system is well on its way to being replenished. The lower level systems are already overflowing with talent. Cal Quantrill, Hudson Potts, Eric Lauer, Buddy Reed, Reggie Lawson, and company instantly boosted the Padres system after they were all drafted and signed in June. Now add all these foreign kids, and the Padres farm system is looking strong for the future.
There are some minor issues here with all these signings. The Padres blew well past their allowed budget of $3,347,600. With that, they will be penalized by major league baseball. The Padres will be required to pay a 100 percent luxury tax on the average spent this spending period. Also, they are now restricted to sign any more International players for more than $300 thousand for the next two seasons. It’s the price you pay in acquiring so much talent, but it really had to be done.
Losing future abilities to sign players is fine. There are some reports that the next few seasons draft classes look a little weak. Perhaps Preller is aware of that and put all his money into this seasons class which had a huge influx of talent. Padres general manager A.J. Preller is a draft expert in the International market. This is where he was supposed to really flourish. These kids are really young though, so it will take time to see the results at the major league level. I suspect we will see some excellent growth from these kids in the next few seasons as they get their feet wet in the lower levels of professional baseball.
Luis Urias of the Lake Elsinore Storm is the perfect example of where these kids could be in the next few years. Urias was drafted via the International market at the age of 16. Now at the ripe age of 20, he is tearing up the California league and was easily one of the youngest participants in the league. Urias is on the fast track to success and quite honestly he wasn’t as highly touted as some of the signings from Saturday. That right there tells you how special this draft could be. Let’s take a brief look at the 10 picks and learn a little about these young men.
Luis Almanzar (SS) # 3 Ranked Prospect ($4 million)
16-years-old/6′ 0″ 175 lbs/Dominican Republic
This shortstop prospect was widely considered one of the best players in the draft. Some even considered him the best. He is described as a well-rounded talent that should progress fairly quickly through the Padres farm system. He was profiled by me last month with some video. Check it out. The switch-hitting infielder hits to all fields well and the ball seems to jump off his bat. His defense is nothing special right now. He has an adequate arm and decent footwork at shortstop and the jury is out on if he will be able to stick at the position in the next level. Either way he should be a really solid player. All scouts agree that he will play in the major leagues at some point. Its up to him whether he is a super-star or a utility player. Keep a close watch on this young man. He could be really special
Gabrial Arias (SS) #5 Ranked Prospect ($1.9 million)
16-years-old/6′ 1″ 187 lbs/Venezuela
This right handed hitter has a very balanced and smooth swing. He is arguably the best talent out of the country of Venezuela and is a very solid prospect. Scouts are indicating that his power should develop in time. He is very smooth on the field too, but there are some reports he could move to third base as he gets bigger and gains more power. Early indications are that Arias projects as an everyday player in the major leagues. It will take at least three years before he even sniffs major league pitching though. A solid pick up by the Padres and a potential third baseman of the future. Arias really solidifies the Padres farm system with offensive ability.
Jeisson Rosario (OF) # 9 Ranked Prospect ($1.85 million)
16-years-old/5′ 11″ 170 lbs/Dominican Republic
I really like this guy. He just looks like he can hit. His only knock may be his small size, but he should easily be an everyday outfielder in the major leagues (in my view). The ball simply jumps off his bat to all fields from his solid left-handed stroke. He plays solid defense, but doesn’t have the speed to play center field. Rosario has an above average arm as well. He could jump in value very easily if he grows a little. At 16, he could easily have a growth spurt and with that blossom. Power is something that takes time and with a larger frame he could develop into a 20 home run guy in the majors. Another solid pickup by the Padres.
Tirso Ornelas (OF/1B) #28 Ranked Prospect ($1.55 million)
16-years-old/6′ 2″ 192 lbs/Mexico
This local kid from the city of Tijuana must be excited to sign with the Padres. He had Mexico City Reds affiliation and with Oscar Suarez being a minority owner in the Padres, the marriage made sense. He is considered the best International player from the country of Mexico available in this years signing period. The left-handed hitter has a nice swing. He makes hard contact to all fields and has jumped in value in recent months. He is already impressive with his physical presence and there are some whispers he will eventually move to first base. He is very sound defensively and has a pretty decent floor. He could be someone to keep an eye on.
Justin Lopez (SS) #27 Ranked Prospect ($1.2 million)
16-years-old/6′ 0″ 168 lbs/Venezuela
If any player in this period is considered a defensive specialist, its Lopez. The switch-hitter is so smooth defensively that he could easily play at the higher minor league levels now. His bat has lagged behind a bit in production, but recently he is starting to drive the ball better from both sides of the plate. His range is excellent but he lacks a little foot-speed and is reportedly working on that. Lopez at the age of 16 is still very raw. His defensive abilities alone should make him a serviceable player in the Padres farm system. If he can learn a better approach at the plate and gain more consistency, he could be special.
Jordy Barley (SS) #15 Ranked Prospect ($1 million)
16-years-old/6′ 0″ 165 lbs/Dominican Republic
Yet another young shortstop as the Padres selected four in the signing period. Barley is a right-handed hitter and has above average speed. The man can really move and the Padres did well in gaining this young man to their farm system. He was clocked at 6.4 seconds in the 60-yard dash and that is an excellent time. His bat needs work at this moment as it is reported his bat speed is lacking slightly. He is expected to improve with the bat as he works with the Padres minor league coaching staff. He has speed and that never takes a day off. Barley could develop as again he is only 16. Another low floor pick by the Padres.
Also signed on Saturday by the San Diego Padres
Alison Quintero (C) Venezuela ($830K)
Jose Manuel Guzman (RHP) Dominican Republic ($400K)
Michell Miliano (RHP) Dominican Republic ($450K)
Carlos Batista (OF) Domincan Republic ($400 K)
Carlos Luis (SS) Dominican Republic ($200K)
Juan Vazquez (C) Dominican Republic ($100K)
Tucupita Marcano (SS) Venezuela
Martin Carrasco (RHP) Mexico
Augustin Ruiz (OF) Mexico
Luis Patino (RHP) Colombia