Since the Yankees rarely pick high in the MLB Draft, they have a long tradition of finding top future talent through the international free agent market. Some are huge names, like 2023 sensation Jasson Domínguez was four years ago. Some are almost completely overlooked, like Randy Vasquez, who only came to terms on a $10,000 bonus but ascended through the system anyway to become a 2023 contributor and part of the recent Juan Soto trade.
The variance in results is always high in this group, no matter the acclaim. But it’s always interesting to see who the Yankees sign in any given year, given their eye for international talent. Although we do not claim to be experts on any of these very young players, we will endeavor to bring insights from those who are!
The Yankees had $4,652,200 in international bonus pool money this year. Normally, they would be in the $5,925,000 batch alongside teams like the Astros and Braves, but the Carlos Rodón signing from last offseason knocked them down $1 million due to the competitive balance tax. (The Padres, Phillies, and Rangers were also penalized in this regard due to their signings of Xander Bogaerts, Trea Turner, and Jacob deGrom respectively.)
Still, that’s a good chunk of change to come to terms with some of these players, and bonuses of $10,000 or below do not count against this figure. There’s also some flexibility because the Yankees can trade for an additional 60 percent of bonus money if they’re compelled to do so. Teams have generally been talking to these players for quite awhile, even though the signing period only technically opened on Monday. So who are the Yankees signing this year?
- OF Francisco Vilorio — This was the name connected to New York before the IFA signing period began, and per Gary Phillips, Vilorio will get approximately $1.7 million. Expect that to be the Yankees’ biggest bonus offered this year. Born on Halloween 2006, the Dominican-born Vilorio was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the 15th-best prospect and the fifth-ranked outfielder in this year’s batch. Baseball America had him 19th and FanGraphs had him at No. 16. Here’s some insight from the Pipeline team’s Jesse Borek and Jesús Cano on Vilorio:
Overall, he projects to be a middle-of-the-order bat and an offensive threat if he continues to develop at the expected pace. His offensive potential makes him valuable, but he’s also improving on the other side of the ball. Vilorio is toolsy enough on defense to start in center field and just might stay there. There’s also a chance he outgrows the position and moves to a corner spot — he has the potential power to match it. Currently, he shows the arm strength and the bat tool to profile as a right fielder.
- 3B Richard Matic — FanGraphs had Matic at 26th on their board while BA place him further back at 44th; MLB Pipeline did not rank him. He’s 16 years old and also from the Dominican, but born on July 26, 2007 (when yours truly already had his driver’s license and recently , yikes!). Without spoiling too much from their write-up, BA thinks that Matic has “a good chance” of remaining a third baseman and calls him a “high-contact hitter.” BA had him signing with New York; FanGraphs previously projected his bonus around $800,000.
- SS Dexter Peralta — More of a low-key signing, BA listed the switch-hitting Peralta among their “potential breakout prospects for under $1 million.” Hailing from the Dominican as well, Peralta was praised for his hard contact and bat speed.
- The remaining signed prospects were only mentioned on Baseball America’s tracker. We don’t know too much about them at the moment, but their names are listed below. Anything else reliable that we can track down will be tacked on at the end.
- RHP Alexander Almonte (Dominican Republic)
- RHP Luis Ilarraza (Venezuela)
- RHP Enixon Sanchez (Venezuela)
- LHP Marco Manzano (Venezuela)
- LHP Junior Tavera (Dominican Republic)
- C Diego Flores (Venezuela)
- C Edgar Jimenez (Dominican Republic)
- C Jesus Marquez (Venezuela)
- C Queni Pineda (Dominican Republic)
- C Carlos Rondon (Venezuela)
- C Carlos Villaroel (Venezuela)
- SS Juan Araujo (Venezuela)
- SS Cristofer Reyes (Dominican Republic)
- OF Diego Gonzalez (Dominican Republic)
- OF Browm Martinez (Dominican Republic)
- OF Dylan Medina (Dominican Republic)
- OF Estivenson Montero (Dominican Republic)
- OF Remy Veldhuisen (Dominican Republic)
- OF Angel Ventura (Dominican Republic)