The New York Mets have agreed to deals with two of the top available international free agents, according to multiple reports. Venezuelan catcher Francisco Alvarez and Dominican outfielder Freddy Valdez were given signing bonuses of $2.7 million and $1.45 million, respectively. Alvarez’s bonus was a franchise record.
The Mets have also signed Venezuelan outfielder Mario Paiva, Dominican infielders Luis Castillo and Bradley Encarnacion, in addition to Javier Atencio and Jhonny Ventura on the 2018-19 international signing period’s first day.
— Jacob Resnick (@Jacob_Resnick) July 2, 2018
Alvarez was ranked as the ninth-best prospect on the market according to Baseball America, and number 13 on the MLB Pipeline list. Valdez, a 6’3″, 216 lb., 16-year-old, checked in at number 29 on the BA list and 25 at Pipeline.
The Mets were given a $4,983,500 million bonus pool by Major League Baseball. During the 2017-18 period, the team signed 44 players, including giving a then-franchise-record $2.1 million bonus to shortstop Ronny Mauricio and an additional $1.5 million to outfielder Adrian Hernandez. Mauricio has hit .356 with five extra-base hits through his first 11 professional games in the Gulf Coast League.
MLB Pipeline had the following 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 has a reputation for hitting well in games, which speaks to his emerging hit tool. He also shows power now and the potential for more in the future. Like most young catching prospects, Alvarez is not known for his running ability.
The teenager’s bat stands out more than his glovework at the moment, but he has also shown a good arm and solid defensive actions behind the plate. He is expected to improve on his overall defensive game once he signs with a team and receives daily instruction at a club’s academy.
Baseball America commented on Valdez:
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.