July 2nd marked the beginning of the international signing period, where teams can negotiate with amateur prospects from any nation but Canada, the United States, and Puerto Rico. This two-week long window has served as the beginning of the road to the show for many successful players today, such as Francisco Lindor, Miguel Cabrera, and David Ortiz, along as the genesis of the careers of some Mets like Amed Rosario and Wilmer Flores. Many of these amateurs aren’t even legal adults yet, with some being as young as 15 years old, meaning some of these prospects may not see major league action for the next decade. Despite the strenuously long development period for these players, almost every team is willing to shed hundreds of thousands of dollars in hopes of getting the league’s next Lindor, Cabrera, or Ortiz.
Like many teams yesterday, the Mets made a plethora of signings in order to re-stock a barren farm system, even netting a couple of top international prospects in the process. As of July 3rd, the Mets signed nine international amateurs in total, with a couple of these prospects bearing great potential in becoming household names for the Mets.
C Francisco Alvarez (16-year old from Venezuela)
The Mets broke out the Brinks trunk for the teenaged Alvarez, signing him to a $2.7 million deal, the most lucrative international contract in franchise history. The Venezuelan native was ranked 9th in Baseball America’s Top 50 International Free Agent list for 2018. Alvarez is already 5’11” and 220 lbs., so the Mets won’t have to worry about the necessity of bulking him up in the future, and Alvarez has the potential of becoming an all-around catcher. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com had this to say about Alvarez:
At 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds, Alvarez is a strong prospect with a stocky build and an offense-oriented set of tools. He’s known for his offense, but he has also shown a good arm and solid defensive actions behind the plate.
OF Freddy Valdez (16-year old from the Dominican Republic)
Along with Alvarez, the Mets signed 29th-ranked international prospect Freddy Valdez to a deal which included a $1.4 million signing bonus. Like Alvarez, Valdez is extremely large for his age, coming in at 6’3″ and 210 lbs. Valdez’s brooding size gives him the potential to have elite-level raw power, but his unrefined swing mechanics impede his raw power from translating to the plate at the moment. Baseball America elaborates on this:
Valdez’s best offensive tool is his raw power, with a power-over-hit profile. Valdez doesn’t have natural hitting rhythm, so it may take time for him to improve his balance and timing to sync everything up in games to tap into his power.
A corner outfielder right now, Valdez is so big already that there’s risk he could end up at first base. He’s a below-average runner but he moved well for his size and read the ball well off the bat, showing better mobility than he did in November at MLB’s Dominican national showcase. Valdez has a strong arm too.
Obviously there is no telling how these players will fare out, but what we do know is that it will be a long time before we get that answer. Amed Rosario was signed by the Mets in 2012, and made his major league debut just last year, and we still do not know his career trajectory. Wilmer Flores had to wait six years to get called up to the show after signing with the Mets in 2007.
Photo Credit: MLB.com
Scouting reports provided by BaseballAmerica and MLB.com Pipeline