- Enrique Rojas, ESPNdeportes
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- On July 2, the earliest date for signing international players of at least 16 years of age, the best guys available were already signed, different sources told ESPNdeportesLosAngeles.com.
One of most important signings on Monday was Dominican outfielder Gustavo Cabrera, who reached a pact with the San Francisco Giants for $1.3 million. Cabrera is a five-tool center fielder who was assessed by all organizations. For several weeks the rumor mill said that he had already accepted an offer that would be announced on Monday.
Also coming out of the Dominican Republic, shortstop German Ahmed Rosario reached an agreement with the Mets for $1.75 million, third baseman Carlos Bethlehem agreed with the Padres for $1 million and shortstop Amaury Minier reached a $1.4 million agreement with the Minnesota Twins.
Rosario is a true shortstop who can hit for average and power. According to many scouts, he is more polished offensively than Cabrera. Bethlehem is a third baseman and right-handed hitter with great defensive instincts whom many scouts compare to Adrian Beltre of the Texas Rangers.
Other teams to get players inked to agreements in the Dominican Republic were the Chicago Cubs (shortstop Frandy De la Rosa for $700,000), the Boston Red Sox (right-hander Jose Almonte for $610,000), the New York Yankees (shortstop Yancarlos Baez for $650,000) and the Philadephia Phillies (catcher Deivi Grullon at $575,000 and outfielder Josee Pujols for $540,000).
In Venezuela, the rumors became true, as shortstop Franklin Barreto agreed with the Toronto Blue Jays, but the final figure was not available. Barreto is seen as a player very similar to Rafael Furcal, although some baseball people project him to be developed as a second baseman.
Also, the Yankees signed Dominican catcher Luis Torrens ($1.3 million) and Venezuelan outfielder Alexander Palma ($800,000), while the Tampa Bay Rays signed Venezuelan right-handed pitcher José Mujica ($1 million). None of these agreements is official until the completion of legal proceedings.
About 2,700 players are available and more than half (1,500) are from the Dominican Republic. Venezuela and the Dominican Republic combine to provide more than 80 percent of players who are at least 16 years of age and are eligible to be signed for the first time.
Enrique Rojas looks at the top prospects who immediately signed once the international signing period began on July 2.