With the international signing period opening on Sunday, the Nationals agreed to terms with 14 amateur free agents.
A lot was made of the inclusion of Elian Soto, the younger brother of former Nationals superstar outfielder Juan Soto who flipped his intention to sign with the Mets a year ago just months before his older brother was traded to the Padres.
But the younger Soto, who also hits from the left side and was interestingly labeled as an outfielder in the Nats’ official release after also playing third base last year, is just one player. And quite frankly, he is not as highly regarded as his brother and fellow signees of this class.
So let’s take a look at three other players the Nationals signed over the weekend who are highly thought of in this last group of international signings.
Manuel Cabrera is a 16-year-old shortstop out of the Dominican Republic who reportedly signed for $500,000 and is MLB Pipeline’s No. 39 ranked prospect in this class. Scouting reports say he has the defensive abilities, including a strong arm, to play any position in the infield and has the bat speed and strength from the right side of the plate to have an upside to hit at the top of the lineup. He’s also been praised for his baseball IQ.
Andy Acevedo is a 17-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic who reportedly signed for $1.2 million and is MLB Pipeline’s No. 45 and Baseball America’s No. 37 ranked prospect in this class. The left-handed bat reportedly has a smooth swing that hits to all fields with an advanced approach for his age. Reports also say he has a strong feel for the strike zone and shows patience while his power improves as he body matures. Sound familiar?
He also is projected as a decent runner and solid defender in the outfield.
Edwin Solano is another 16-year-old shortstop out of the Dominican Republic who reportedly signed for $1.2 million and is MLB Pipeline’s No. 46 and Baseball America’s No. 28 ranked prospect in this class. He is said to be a physically gifted athlete with a solid set of tools and good bat speed from the right side of the plate. His most notable tool is his reportedly plus raw power that makes loud sounds off his bat while he consistently makes hard contact. He is said to be smooth in the field at shortstop with a solid arm. He’s also a good runner with good instincts on the basepaths with a high baseball IQ.
The Nationals are in a group of 10 teams allotted $5.284 million to sign players this signing period. They have reportedly already paid out $4.595 to this class, with signings of $10,000 or less not counting toward the pool.
By doing so, the Nationals may have a deeper class this year than in recent signing periods. In each of the past two years, the Nationals have set club records for bonuses given to an international prospect by signing shortstop Armando Cruz for $3.9 million in 2021 and outfielder Cristhian Vaquero for $4.925 million last year.
Instead of signing one of the top overall prospects in the class, the Nationals were able to sign three ranked in MLB Pipeline’s top 50.
All of the players signed are 17 years old or younger, so it will be a while before any of them have a shot to crack the major league roster. But it will be interesting to see if the Nats get more bang for their buck from this class.
Tune in to the “MASN All Access Podcast” at 1 p.m. this afternoon live on the MASN Nationals Facebook page and/or YouTube channel as Amy Jennings and I go over this international class and the top international prospects in the Nats system.
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