Today is the first day of the 2023 international signing period in Major League Baseball and the Cincinnati Reds have signed catcher Alfredo Duno to the highest signing bonus deal that they’ve ever given out to a non-Cuban born player on the international market. The official signing was first reported by Marcos Grunfeld of El Emergente, though we’ve known for about two years that the Reds were going to sign the catcher from Venezuela. They are also reporting the signing bonus of $3,100,000.
While I will likely have signing bonuses for much of the class that signs this week it’s my policy to not publish that information unless it is being published somewhere else due to the safety concerns that have unfortunately plagued some players and their families in recent years.
Among the players from Venezuela this year, the bonus to Alfredo Duno is the second most. Ethan Salas, another catcher, is signing with the San Diego Padres and in most publications is the top prospect in the entire 2023 international signing class and his signing bonus seems to show that.
As for Alfredo Duno, his signing marks the second year in a row that the Reds have landed a guy who is considered one of the top five prospects. Last year they inked Venezuelan shortstop Ricardo Cabrera to a deal that was, at the time, also a new record for the most money given to a non-Cuban player on the international market.
Earlier this week I wrote about the signing period and that Duno was the only player the team was expected to sign who was currently among the “top 50 prospects” in the class. Of course there’s a reason there are quotation marks around those words – most of these guys haven’t worked out for any team that they aren’t signing with today in probably two years. They may have been the best 50 prospects when they were 14 or 15, but now they are 16 or 17 and a whole lot of things could have changed since then.
With that said, the reports on Duno are quite good. He’s got enormous bat speed, size, current power, and future power. He’s a good runner, and for a catcher that’s incredibly rare. There’s some question about his swing-and-miss, but we’re probably going to have to wait and see how that plays out given that he hasn’t played games yet and these reports are on what is the equivalent of a high school sophomore. Defensively he’s got a very strong arm, good hands, and athleticism behind the plate.
The Reds have announced agreements with 14 players on Sunday. You can read scouting reports on all of the signings here.