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Blue Jays, Yankees sign top international prospects

Jul 2, 2012, 12:32 PM EDT

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July 2 is signing day for 16-year-old internationals, and the Blue Jays and Yankees have added two of the best, according to Baseball America.

Already having signed today are eight members of Baseball America’s top 20 international prospects. The Blue Jays inked No. 1 and No. 9, signing Franklin Barrero and Luis Castro out of Venezuela.

Barreto and Castro are both shortstops at the moment, though most think Barreto will end up elsewhere. Baseball America compares Barreto to “Rafael Furcal with less defense to a Shane Victorino type in center field.”

The Yankees signed BA’s No. 2 prospect, catcher Luis Torrens out of Venezuela. According to BA, he just became a catcher in February after converting from the infield. The Yankees already possess one of the game’s top catching prospects in Gary Sanchez, who was a $3 million signing out of the Dominican Republic three years ago.

The Giants, Mets, Twins, Red Sox and Phillies have also landed prospects on BA’s top 20 today. With the new CBA holding down bonuses (teams only have $2.9 million to spend on international players), the highest reported figure for a signing so far is shortstop Amed Rosario to the Mets for $1.75 million.

  1. cur68 - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:45 PM

    Great. Now trade him & some other guy for some dang pitching.

  2. Jeremy T - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Montero, Sanchez, and now Torrens. What is it with the Yankees and young, international catchers with questionable defense? (I don’t know for sure that Torrens is a subpar catcher, but if he’s switched there recently I think it’s a fairly safe assumption)

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 2, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      Ben Badler made the same comment. Although it’s smart because if you can find someone who hits like a 1b but can play a manageable catcher, they are extremely valuable (c.f. Piazza, Mike).

    • uyf1950 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:17 PM

      Torrens, is 16 years old he has plenty of time to hone his skills behind the plate if that’s ultimately where he stays. Besides not to often dies a team get to sign a #2 prospect from any country never mind from Venezuela and not have it effect the teams slotting money based on the new MLB CBA. It’s a good deal and a good signing for the Yankees.

      • uyf1950 - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:19 PM

        oops typo above – Besides not to often “does” a team…..

        Sorry about that.

      • Jeremy T - Jul 2, 2012 at 1:51 PM

        Oh, it’s certainly a worthwhile move. Catchers who can hit are gold, and being able to get one without hurting other areas is an absolute win. I’m just observing a trend, and wondering if there’s anything behind it.

      • uyf1950 - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM

        Jeremy T – I don’t think there is anything in these International signings by the Yankees other then what meets the eye. The Yankees I’m sure realize with the CBA guidelines and penalties and with them generally getting low 1st round draft choices this is probably their last shot at taking advantage of using what they have to their advantage that’s MONEY. After today all the teams regardless if it’s international signings or just the regular draft they will be penalized for going over their allotment.

      • Jeremy T - Jul 2, 2012 at 3:39 PM

        So many catchers, though. I’m just wondering if the Yankees are intentionally drafting catchers for some reason, or directing more scouting time towards catchers, or that region of the world is skewed towards developing catchers somehow… or, more likely, it’s just a coincidence.

        I guess I shouldn’t be thinking so much about the Yankees going after a player who is already recognized as the #2 prospect in the country.

  3. proudlycanadian - Jul 2, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    It will be many years before any of these kids are ready for the majors. Some might become super stars and many will not make it to the majors. It is a big risk signing these kids, but the reward can be great.

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