It’s July 2nd, and that means it’s open season for signing international prospects. Like most teams. the Yankees acted quickly, agreeing to terms with a number of players. In fact, four of the prospects rank among Baseball America’s top 50.
Osiel Rodriguez, a right-handed pitcher from Cuba, stands out as the star of the Yankees’ haul. He ranked fifth in the top 50 prospects. Ben Badler saw Rodriguez pitch last November. “His fastball sat at 95 mph and touched 96 twice,” Badler explained, ”with one at 94 and another at 93 mph. Rodriguez threw 13 of his 17 pitches for strikes with a mix of nine fastballs and eight curveballs at 75-78 mph.”
Antonio Gomez, a catcher from Venezuela, also agreed to terms with the Yankees. He ranked 14th on the top 50 list. Badler lauded his arm as “one of the highlights of the showcase.” On the other side of the plate, he is expected to have gap power.
The remaining two top-50 prospects that signed with the Yankees are Denny Larrondo, a right-handed pitcher from Cuba, and Agustin Ramirez, a catcher from Dominican Republic. Larrondo agreed to a $550,000 signing bonus.
Among the other players who will join the organization, one name sounds familiar. That’s Rafael Severino, a right-handed pitcher out of the Dominican Republic. Yes, he is the younger brother of Yankees ace Luis Severino.
The Yankees have a noticeably smaller budget with which to work compared to 2017. The club now has a pool worth $4,983,500. Last year they accrued money in an attempt to sign Shohei Ohtani, but that proved an extenuating circumstance.
You can follow along with the Baseball America live tracker as the signing period unfolds.