Vladimir Gutierrez held a workout back in March that had the Cincinnati Reds in attendance. They apparently liked what they saw because according to Ben Badler at Baseball America.
Tomcat (Sacramento): The Rangers have just acquired j2 cap space, Any idea who they want to sign this late?
Ben Badler: Dominican CF Leuri Mejia, our No. 38 international prospect for July 2, is expected to sign with them when he turns 16 on Aug. 30. The Rangers also had a surprisingly notable scouting contingent on hand (as did the Reds and Astros) at a recent showcase for Cuban RHP Vladimir Gutierrez.
The Cincinnati Reds are already over their 2016 International Signing limit in terms of how much money they can spend without penalty. Any money they spend moving forward will cost them a tax of 100%, essentially doubling the bonus paid out to the team (the bonus goes to the player, the 100% tax goes to Major League Baseball).
Gutierrez last pitched in 2014 in Cuba as an 18-year-old. The right hander posted a 2.45 ERA with 19 walks and 49 strikeouts in 51.1 innings out of the bullpen. Most teams believe that he can start in the long run.
He will turn 21-years-old next month. The 6′ 3″ and 175 lb. righty has two potential plus pitches with a fastball that reaches 97 MPH. He mixed in a curveball in the 78-81 MPH range with good biting action. He also mixes in a change up that shows itself to be an average pitch.
Vladimir Gutierrez is the top pitching prospect left on the international market. With his age he is likely to command $10+M to sign. That would easily be the biggest amount the team has paid out to an amateur under the new signing rules.
While the team has been a little light on the spending overall since 2008 on the international market, they have been highly interested in Cuban players. They’ve signed Aroldis Chapman, Raisel Iglesias and Alfredo Rodriguez over the last seven seasons out of Cuba.