Atlanta Braves ink deal with #10 International prospect
Welcome to International Signing Day. Unlike what’s happened in recent years, the Atlanta Braves are finally full participants in the event.
It used to be July 2nd (and it could very well return to that date), but on this January 15th date, there is news of the Atlanta Braves getting new prospects under contract.
We previewed this event several days ago with the information available from Baseball America, but today is the day on which the rumors turn into reality as we’ll probably hear that close to 100 teenage baseball hopefuls from Latin America and beyond agree to terms with their first professional teams.
Such is the case with the highest rated (by mlb.com’s ratings) prospect that the Braves will be getting today:
For a quick profile on this Venezuelan infielder, I’ll refer you to the prior post to avoid redundancy. But all indications are that this is a solid pickup of a hitter with natural skills.
The Braves have a total of just over $5.1 million that they are permitted to spend on International players during this 2022 market “season”, so the bonus going to Benitez represents nearly half of that and underscores the team’s belief in what he could develop into over the next several years.
There is more to come today: BaseballAmerica is reporting that the Braves also have agreements in place (which probably means that signing ceremonies are expected today or tomorrow) with two other kids:
- Douglas Glod, a Venezuelan outfielder we noted before
- Juan Bito, a Dominican shortstop
Here’s what we’ve been able to dig up on Bito:
He’s a lefty-hitting shortstop (but then again, half of these kids are shortstops at this age) who looks to be quite physically mature for his age.
There’s a video of him from the El Mago Baseball Academy that was posted nearly 2 years ago — when Bito would have been 15-16 years old. At that point, he was already showing signs of gaps-to-gap power.
While he’s listed as a shortstop, I expect he will move to a corner outfield position fairly soon in his development as his footwork doesn’t seem to translate to the infield for the long term… particularly if he continues to fill out physically.
At this point, Bito’s signing bonus is unknown, but the guess is that he is being signed for his bat and we’ll simply have to see how well that develops over time: as we’ve seen with players like Adam Duvall, power is handy, but bat-to-ball skills are necessary before that can truly become a weapon.
In case you really like the looks of what you see in Bito, you can already get his baseball card, too.
UPDATES: Per David O’Brien, Glod receives a $1.3 million signing bonus (and will be 17 on the 20th of this month). Also from DOB: Benitez is now 17 years old.
Per BaseballAmerica, the Atlanta Braves have also added these players:
- Maximo Maria, OF, Dominican Republic
- Robert Gonzalez, OF, Dominican Republic
- Jhonly Taveras, RHP, Dominican Republic
- Genderson Almonte, RHP, Dominican Republic
That’s enough for now… if we have any notable updates, we’ll add that information either here or in a new post… but: the Braves are on the board on International Signing Day!