According to Kiley McDaniel of Scouting Baseball, word is that the Brewers have agreed to a deal with Dominican infielder Gilbert Lara on a deal that will include a $3.2 million signing bonus. Lara also appears to go by Yirver or Yirver Gilbert Lara.
Here's what McDaniel has to say about Lara:
Gilbert Lara has the loose, handsy, fluid swing that scouts are looking for with the plus bat speed and raw power to project as a future All-Star. He hit a number of balls out to left field at the heavily scouted MLB showcase and hit a triple and homerun in the game portion of the event.
If the Brewers do indeed sign Lara, he would earn by far the largest signing bonus the Brewers' have ever handed out to an international player, shattering the previous franchise record of $800,000, which they set twice last year. Teams now have limits on how much they can spend on international players, so assigning so much money to Lara indicates just how much they must like him.
There isn't exactly a wealth of information on the internet about Lara. You can see a scouting video of him here. That site has him listed at 6'3" and 180 pounds. He was also born in 1997 and is just 16 years old, so he has plenty of room to grow. He's listed as a shortstop but it appears he is a more likely fit at third base or second base maybe? Like I said, not a whole of exact info out there on him.
Blue Jays blog Breaking Blue has a brief scouting report on Lara, calling him the second-best international prospect available this year. Here's more of what they have to say on him:
Likely the second best overall prospect available for the July 2 signing period, Lara is a big rangy shortstop with an exciting combination of tools. Scouts love his athleticism, projectable frame, and top level bat speed. At the plate Lara is an aggressive hitter. He has natural loft in his swing and the ball really carries, which should allow him to hit for double digit homeruns if he can refine his raw hitting approach. There are times when he’ll pull off the ball trying to drive it, or lunge out against off speed pitches as he did against Huascor Ynoa in their at bat. His pitch recognition isn’t the greatest right now, but will hopefully improve with time. Defensively Lara shows good range and fluidity and enough arm strength for the left side of the diamond. If I had to bet I would say he has a better chance of staying at short than his countryman Garcia, but he’s no certainty either. As athletic as he is, you probably wouldn’t immediately think infielder just by looking at him. I Can’t think of a natural comparison except maybe a right handed hitting Curtis Granderson. He has the same combination of power and speed, and similar hitting mechanics with the hands high and close to the body and the leg lift trigger
Lara won't be able to sign officially until July 2. If he does indeed sign with the Brewers, he likely won't even play in America for another couple of years after that. He's 16, after all. Maybe he'll be forgotten about in a year and never really do anything or maybe he'll become a superstar. Who knows? There's really no way to tell.
It is exciting to see the Brewers begin making these big acquisitions out of Latin America, however. For the lack of superstar potential in their recent drafts, supplementing that with these players could be an excellent method. The team reorganized their Latin American scouting department two years ago and appear to have that as a bigger focus moving forward. It will be exciting to see if some of these players can pan out.