The July 2nd international signing period for 2015-2016 is closing in quickly. It’s been a long time since the Cincinnati Reds have made a big splash on the international market, at least when it comes to the guys we normally think of when it comes to July 2nd signings.
The Reds have had two big signings out of Cuba since 2010 with pitchers Aroldis Chapman and Raisel Iglesias, but they haven’t made a seven figure signing of a teenage prospect on the international market since signing Yorman Rodriguez. In 2014 the biggest bonus paid out was $400,000 to Australian catcher Jake Turnbull. Back in 2013 they handed out $730,000 to sign left handed pitcher Jacob Constante, but that’s been the largest bonus in quite a while.
Fangraphs Kiley McDaniel has put together, what is probably the best thing since sliced bread, with a sortable July 2nd International Prospects signing bonus and landing spot board. It has all 72 players listed that he believes will warrant a signing bonus of at least $300,000.
On that board, McDaniel has the Cincinnati Reds signing the 24th and 28th best prospects on the list. Cristian Olivo, a center fielder from the Dominican Republic and Miguel Hernandez, a shortstop from Venezuela. Let’s take a look at what we know about these kids, and both are still kids, under 17-years-old.
Cristian Olivo | Outfielder
McDaniel projects him to sign for $1,200,000 and if the Reds were to ink him to that deal it would be the largest they’ve handed out since 2008 for a non-Cuban player. Olivo is listed at 6′ 2″ and 210 lbs despite being just 16-years-old, so he’s physically mature despite such a young age. He’s a left handed hitter with good bat speed who could develop above-average power in the future thanks to his size and bat speed. He is also an above-average runner at this point.
Miguel Hernandez | Shortstop
Hernandez isn’t nearly as physically developed as Olivo is, standing at 5′ 11″ and just 155 lbs. at this point. He doesn’t have the same kind of bat speed as Olivo does, but his bat isn’t slow. The shortstop seems to have a good grasp on pitch recognition for his age and can already use most of the field. He’s projected to sign for $800,000.
The Cincinnati Reds have a bonus pool of $2,873,000. That is the 10th largest pool in baseball, though as we have seen in the past – more than a few teams blow the doors off of their bonus pools and just deal with the penalties later. I wouldn’t expect the Reds to be one of those teams, as they’ve never done so in the past.