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.

Update:

The Reds have announced agreements with 14 players on Sunday. You can read scouting reports on all of the signings here.

16 Responses

  1. Fredrocker

    New here… been bb nut since 1965… Reds org does some of the strangest things… Duno might be top 100 in a year or 2

  2. Redsvol

    Good to see us go after an international catcher. We have spent 4 top picks over the last 3 years in the regular draft with very little to show for it. Hoping he stays healthy.

    Doug – what $ does that leave us to go after additional international guys this signing period?

    • Stock

      The Reds have $6.3 Million in international money this year. The Dodgers are on the other end of the spectrum having only $4.1 million to spend on the draft.

  3. Bdh

    The reds got a great defensive catcher in Tanner, a very good hitting catcher with Hunter, and just spent the equivalent of a first round pick on Duno all within the last year. We should also finally see Jackson Miller start to play in 2023 too

    Hopefully this means they won’t draft another catcher early this year

    • RedsGettingBetter

      And…there are hopes on Vellojin yet after a good winter season in Colombia… Let´s see…

  4. RedsGettingBetter

    Well , they have already signed Alfredo Duno and I am starting to read concerns about swing-and-miss issues on him right now…I pull my little hair…

    • 2024WSChamps

      That is also a very common thing to see from a 17 year old prospect. Duno is a very exciting signing

  5. MBS

    So does Duno rocket to the top of the Catching prospect list?

    1 Duno
    2 Tanner
    3 Vellojin
    4 Free
    5 Hunter
    6 Nelson
    7 Miller

    It could be an interesting year for the Catchers of the Reds organization. At the top we will see how they use Stephenson, and if injuries continue to plague him. Vellojin had a nice offseason, and Miller could finally get some playing time. Then we have the 2 college pitchers going into their 1st full year as pros. Plus the addition of a top international FA.

    • Doug Gray

      I certainly want to talk to more people about him, but given that there’s not a single catcher in the organization that I’ve got rated in the Top 25 that yeah, Duno will be the top catching prospect on my list.

    • Stock

      I would put Vellojin first and Duno second. I think Vellojin will be in Cincinnati in a couple of years. Duno has not yet played professional ball so I have a hard time placing him in my top 25.

  6. Bourgeois Zee

    Duno’s a great sign– love the power bat and plus bat speed.

    That said, I’m perhaps more interested in the other signings– specifically, how much they’re willing to play in the international free agency in terms of cash layout. If they cheap out there as well (like they have at the major league level), I suspect the Reds will soon be on their way to the Bill Veeck-led St. Louis Browns’/ post-champion Connie Mack-led Philadelphia A’s. (With the added caveat, of course, that all modern MLB squads receive more than $260M in baseball welfare.)

    • Doug Gray

      I will try to get as much bonus info as I can. I won’t divulge the individual bonuses publicly, as noted here – but I’ll try to get info on how much was spent. Let’s remember, too, that teams certainly save *some money* for signings throughout the year. Some players aren’t yet eligible to sign who will be eligible to sign this signing period (because of their birthday). Then there are always some guys who pop up – be them Cuban guys who become eligible or guys that all of a sudden found 4 MPH of velocity or something like that.

  7. Max BRAGG

    All these international signings are are fine but I would rather spend money on BETTER scouting .