Today is the start of the 2019-2020 international signing period and the Cincinnati Reds are acting like they just got a big inheritance and they are going out and spending it like crazy. And really, they sort of did. After going big on the Cuban market in 2016-2076, they have had to essentially sit out of the market in each of the last two seasons – unable to sign any single player for more than $300,000. They didn’t even sign anyone for $200,000 in that time frame.
The first day of signings hasn’t even hit noon yet and the Reds have already locked up a pair of 7-figure signings. The biggest one is shortstop Braylin Minier, who reportedly signed with the organization for $1.8M. They’ve also signed Cuban infielder Michel Triana, who was reportedly in agreement for $1.3M.
For the Cincinnati Reds, the bonus handed out to Braylin Minier is significant. It’s the largest bonus they’ve given out to a non-Cuban born player in over a decade. The last time they signed a player for more that wasn’t Cuban was in 2008 when they signed both Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez for $2M+. It’s only the second time since then that the team has even handed out a 7-figure bonus since then to a non-Cuban prospect. Cristian Olivo got $1M in the 2015 signing period.
Braylin Minier Scouting Report
Defensively he’s a quality shortstop who has plus arm strength. Offensively there’s some pop in his bat and he’s got a chance to hit for a quality average in the future.
“He’s a quick-twitch athlete, with a really good chance to stay at shortstop. He’s got really good hands and footwork. We think he’ll certainly have enough arm strength to play at shortstop,” said Trey Hendricks, the Reds Director of International Scouting. “Offensively he really swings the bat – he’s got tremendous barrel whip from the left side. Surprising power for someone his size – he’s not physically imposing, but he’s got wiry strength now and he’s going to fill out. He’s probably an average runner right now. A good combination that he’s got a good chance to stick at shortstop and he’s a left-handed bat that we think will grow into some power.”
Michel Triana Scouting Report
Out of Cuba, Michael Triana showed up in the Dominican Republic last year and became eligible to sign for this signing period. While he’s a little bit older than the others in this class – he’s 19-years-old – he did sign a contract for the 2020 season. While he will be in the Reds complex in the Dominican and play in the Tricky League (an informal league for newly signed guys in all of the organizations), he won’t be playing in games that can be followed until 2020.
With Michel Triana, here’s the scouting report that I posted earlier this year after speaking with several scouts in spring training who had seen him at his workouts.
The first scout that I spoke with about Michel Triana noted that his team wasn’t too interested in him. But that he looked more impressive in his workout than he was expecting based on previous information. The power was there, both now and even more in the future. His take was that while he’s possibly going to see time at third base early, he’s a future first baseman. There was also some concerns about how his body could potentially get in the future if he didn’t take care of it.
Reports over the next few days were a little better. One scout noted that there’s potential there for 30+ home run power down the line if things go right for him. And that he could also be a guy who hits for a good average. No one seemed to believe that he would wind up at third base long term, but there was one person who felt that the corner outfield could be a possibility – but he also noted first base was an option.
Other Reds International Signings
Deivid Alcantara, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic. Born in Puerto Rico, but has been in the Dominican Republic for several years. “Super athletic, has very good speed. There’s a chance for him to be very physical in the future. He can really swing the bat well. Has a very good arm – very exciting, toolsy prospect. He’s performed in games, too,” said Hendricks of Deivid Alcantara. He got the third highest bonus (thus far) from this signing class.
Yerlin Confidan, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic. Left-handed hitting outfielder. He shows elite arm strength and profiles as a right fielder. He has long limbs and is very projectable with big time power in the future. Needs to add strength, but can already drive the ball to all fields.
Wencer Inirio, a third baseman from the Dominican Republic. Could hit for both average and power in the future. He’s shown the ability to hit in games. Trained at the facility as Braylin Minier.
Brayan Almonte, a right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic. Was a center fielder/shortstop at one point, but moved to a pitcher. Already in the low-90s and can spin the ball. His athleticism on the mound really stands out.
Cesar Martinez, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic. He’s a switch-hitting middle infielder. Has a chance to stick at short, but could wind up at second base. No big, flashy tools, but is solid all around.
Arian Castro, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic. Ben Badler shared some video of him on Instagram.
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The Rules for the International Signing Period
The teams no longer can just spend what they want. Each team has a set pool amount that they can’t go over. Teams can, however, trade for additional pool money. For now, the Cincinnati Reds are allowed to spend $5,939,800 on this signing class. Anyone signed for $10,000 or less does not count towards that pool.
We don’t have the bonuses for everyone we know that they have signed at this point, but we do seem to know the top two at this point. At $3.1M between Braylin Minier and Michel Triana, those two account for 52% of their pool. I don’t have the bonus amounts for everyone else that has signed at this point, but I do have some. On top of the Minier and Triania bonuses, there’s another $935,000 that’s been spent that on four players players. That pushes the Reds just over the $4M mark as of now.
It’s also worth noting that these players will be signing contracts for NEXT season, not this one. We won’t see these guys on the field this year, though they will be at the complex in the Dominican Republic, and will be playing in games. The games just won’t be official.