News broke Thursday afternoon that the San Diego Padres verbally agreed to a deal with top international prospect Ethan Salas for $5.6 million – a number that is essentially all of the organization’s pool money for this period. The report came from Enrique Rojas of ESPN, and the official release can be found here.
The Padres history of attacking the international market is deep since President of Baseball Operations A.J. Preller entered the organization. Most famously, San Diego spent abundant money during the 2016-2017 international period, inking Adrian Morejon, Michel Baez, Gabriel Arias, Jeisson Rosario, Tirso Ornelas, Luis Patiño, and Jorge Ona, amongst others.
The building block of this organization’s once deep farm system was the international market, and Preller appears to be tapping into that well again with this verbal agreement. Salas is regarded by many as a high-end international prospect in what appears to be a quality class, and he’s been one of the more famous names for a few years now.
Salas has baseball pedigree in his family. His older brother, Jose, is a top prospect in the Miami Marlins farm system, while his grandfather, father, and uncle all played professional baseball as well.
Originally from Venezuela, Salas currently resides with his family in the Dominican Republic, though he’s spent time in Florida training over the last few years. He brings a highly projectable 6-foot-1, 175-pound frame to the table, one that should almost certainly fill out and add muscle with physical maturity.
A switch-hitter, Salas wields a smooth, silky stroke from both sides, though his left-handed swing is particularly enticing. There’s some natural loft and ease to drive the baseball to the pull-side at the moment, and that should continue to consistently tick up as he gets stronger. Even with that said, it’s likely going to be a hit-over-power type of profile down the road. The ease and fluidity that Salas works with are the separators, however, and it’s just something you don’t typically see from players his age.
Salas checks plenty of boxes defensively, which is also not something you see in young catching prospects, especially coming from the international ranks. His ability to work underneath the baseball, maintain rhythm as he gathers the pitch, and do so all with soft clean hands is impressive. It’s hard to project anyone to stick behind the plate at this age, but his actions and arm strength have him headed in the right direction.
16 Year Old Venezuelan Ethan Salas is expected to sign with the San Diego Padres.
He’s currently the #1 Ranked International Prospect.
Switch Hitting Catcher.
Here is some highlights.
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Joe Doyle from Prospects Live provided more scouting nuggets on Salas in a previous article, which you can find here.
For an organization looking to infuse their farm system with talent, Salas is a stepping stone in the right direction. After adding a few high-end names from the 2022 MLB Draft in July, the Padres prospect wealth could be richer sooner rather than later.