Baseball America released their annual review of the Mets’ signings of International Free Agents yesterday with some positivity. The Mets had a budget of $5.75 million after trading Milton Ramos to the Orioles for $1 million extra and made it count, signing 28 players, according to Baseball America. Headlining the Mets’ free agent class is switch-hitting Dominican shortstop, Ronny Mauricio, who set a new franchise bonus record at $2.1 million, beating Amed Rosario‘s record deal in 2012 for $1.75 million.
According to Baseball America, the third-best IFA of the class, Mauricio has already grown two inches and stands at 6’4″, 180 pounds as a 17-year-old, and features a thin frame that is projected to fill in with some bulk and give him some strength. Mauricio has impressed with his projection, hitting ability, and defensive instincts, and features a nice quick swing from both sides of the plate.
Since he started getting taller, he has translated that to more generated power, and he does so from the left side of the plate well, while producing hard liners at a lower angle from the right side of the plate. Currently tabbed as a below average runner, Mauricio will likely get slower as he bulks up and possibly move off shortstop, though he is excellent defensively and has some great reads off the bat.
Baseball America has given an early comparison in terms of prospect prowess to Fernando Tatis Jr., in terms of potential. For reference, Tatis Jr. hit .278/.379/.498 with 22 home runs as an 18-year-old between High-A and Double-A last season, but is off to a rough start this year. Baseball America estimates that Mauricio is due to start at one of the Mets Rookie Ball teams, especially since he was in the stateside extended spring training, and I’m betting on Kingsport.
That wasn’t the only seven-figure the Mets gave out, as the Mets signed #16th ranked Adrian Hernandez, who has a power-speed combo, for $1.5 million. Unlike Mauricio, Hernandez is a bit bulkier, with a 6-foot, 195 lb build with some more muscle and another inch or two to grow into. Hailing from the Dominican Republic, Hernandez shows plus bat speed, and a little knowledge of the strike zone, as well as above-average power in batting practice, but hasn’t been able to use it in games as of yet.
Hernandez is a plus runner currently, but will possibly slow down with more height and bulk, and currently patrols center field. His speed allows him the ability currently to outrun the mistakes he’s going to make as he develops his jumps and routes to the ball. To go along with the center field play is an average arm. Hernandez has a lot of emotion in his play, according to Baseball America, making him a bit aggressive, but keeping him in a happy medium is key. Hernandez is most likely tabbed to go to the Dominican Summer League to start his pro career.
Furthermore, they signed Dominican Outfielder Stanley Consuegra, a former shortstop, who converted to center field. At 6’3″ 175 lbs presently, Consuegra has a lot to work with. His best tool is his plus-plus arm that ranks as a 70, which he can use to gun down runners, Lagares-style, and has plus speed to cover ground in the outfield. He also has a nice little bat that hits hard liners from gap to gap at present, but could get more dangerous if he could develop an uppercut swing. Consuegra signed for $500,000 last July 2nd, and could either start in Rookie Gulf Coast League or Foreign Rookie Dominican Summer League. His impressive skill set allowed him to rank 40th Baseball America’s list.
The Mets also signed Venezuelan RHP David Marcano on his 16th birthday of August 28th for 500k, which was a birthday four days away from being a 2018 IFA instead of 2017. Currently, Marcano has been up to 93 miles per hour on the fastball, with some room for projection at 6’3″, 180. He also throws a curve with some decent spin and depth. Baseball America ranked him 49th on the list.
In addition to Marcano, the Mets also signed 6’8″ Dominican right-hander Junior Santos for $275,000. The tall, projectable righty has some feel for a slider and a changeup, with a fastball that already reaches 92 miles per hour.
To round out the review was Venezuelan outfielder Eduardo Salazar, who was signed for $125,000, and Dominican infielder Federico Polanco who was signed for $325,000. Polanco is a cousin of top signee Mauricio and shows a high-contact lefty bat with the potential to be an offensive 2nd baseman. Salazar has the ability to have some power if he uses his lower half and grows into his projectable body. He’s a corner outfield type in the field.
Thanks to our own Jacob Resnick, here is an additional list of players that the Mets signed in the last signing period.
RHP’s Fernando Gallegos, Martin Rodriguez, Adrian Aybar, Jose Valerio, Eiker Huizi, Benito Garcia, Antonio Villalba, Jeffrey Colon, Joshua Cornielly, Rolfy Vargas, and Haniel Ogando. LHP’s Carlos Castellanos, Nixon Silva, Cesar Loaiza, Benito Garcia, Johan Armado, Ragul Rodriguez, and Brailin Gonzalez. Catcher Juan Loyo. Infielders Andres Parra, Fidel Almario, Malvin Nunez, and Ruben Monegro, and Outfielder Patricio Diaz.
The Mets are also lined up to sign Venezuelan catcher Francisco Alvarez, one of the best catchers in the class, and Dominican Freddy Valdez, a powerful right field bat on July 2nd, 2018.