The Yankees have made another four signings official on the first day of the 2014-2015 international signing period. They have now added Dominican outfielder Juan De Leon, Venezuelan catcher Miguel Flames, South Korean shortstop Hyo-Joon Park, and right-handed pitcher Severando Hernandez to their growing list of international prospects.
Everyone seems to be in agreement about how good Juan De Leon is. He was ranked No. 5 by MLB.com and No. 2 by Baseball America, and at six-foot-one, 175 pounds, the right-handed hitter might have the best tools out of Latin America this year and has the potential to be a five-tool player. He has great bat speed (60-grade hit), raw power (60-grade projection)and is very athletic in the outfield with a future 50-grade glove, though he'll likely to be in right field where his 60-grade arm will play well. Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball believes he has a high ceiling, but also a high floor, so you should expect big things from him.
Flames, pronounced FLAH-Mays, according to BA, is a 16-year-old right-handed hitter who had previously been a third baseman before making to move behind the plate at the end of last year. His six-foot-two, 205-pound frame will generate plenty of questions about his ability to stay at the position – Sounds like a Yankee specialty – but his bat should play (55-hit, 55-power. He was ranked at No. 25 by MLB.com and No. 15 by Baseball America. Garrioch beleives he has a lot of potential in his bat, and though he's slow (35-run) and built like a catcher, he is hands down the best catcher on the international market and could work defensively (50-arm, 50-glove).
Ranked at No. 13 by MLB.com and No.18 by BA, Hyo-Joon Park has been on the Yankees radar for awhile now. The left-handed hitting shortstop is already 18 years old, so he's more like a draft pick than an international signing. At six-foot-two and 170 pounds, Park is believed to have the athleticism and speed (60-run) to stick at the position (60-glove). While his power is projected to be below-average (45-grade), scouts believe his bat will play well (60-hit). He can hit the ball to all field and could max out with 10 home runs a season.
Severando Hernandez was not on any top prospect lists, but the Venezuelan right-hander has a big frame at six-foot-two, 210 pounds. Signing for a $200,000 bonus, he can hit 90-91 mph and has a feel for a changeup with a curveball as his third pitch.