Today, July 2nd, begins baseball’s new international free agent signing period. Early on in the year it was reported that our Milwaukee Brewers were planning on making a splash on the international market this year, although as the deadline has drew closer it appeared as though that not may be the case. By name, the Brewers had really only been linked to two prospects, both ranked in the lower part of MLB Pipeline’s top 30. Earlier today Jesse Sanchez reported that Milwaukee had in fact signed both players, Pablo Abreu and Jean Carlos Carmona.
Pablo Abreu is a 16 year old outfielder from the Dominican Republic. MLB Pipeline ranked him as their 29th prospect, praising him for his ability to make contact and drive the ball into the gaps, as well as a solid arm and the possibility to remain as a center fielder. Fangraphs ranks him outside of their top 30 but gives him future tool grades of 50 hit, 40 raw, 45 speed, 45 field, 50 arm, and an FV of 35. The 5’11” and 175 lb outfielder bats and throws right handed. He received an $800,000 bonus.
Jean Carlos Carmona is a 16 year old infielder, also from the Dominican Republic. He ranked as Pipeline’s 30th prospect, a switch-hitter who has displayed power from both sides of the plate. He’s 6’1” and 183 lbs with a strong, athletic build that projects to fill out more as he matures, lending to the possibility of adding more power. He’s also said to be a plus runner and could have the chance to develop an impressive power-speed profile. Sanchez believes he could stay in the middle infield or perhaps move to center field down the road. Fangraphs isn’t quite as high on Carmona, giving him future tools grades of 45 hit, 45 raw, 40 speed, 45+ fielding, 50 arm, and an FV of 35. Carmona received a bonus of $725,000.
According to Baseball America’s signing tracker, the Brewers have additionally signed the following players:
OF Francis Tolentino || Dominican Republic || $500,000
OF Anderson Melendez || Venezuela
SS Victor Maria || Dominican Republic || $375,000
SS Yancarlos Cruz || Dominican Republic
The club officially announced their signings, including another three previously unreported players:
RHP Jeison Medina || Dominican Republic
RHP Brayan Salaya || Venezuela
C Roberto Molina || Venezuela
The Brewers began the period with the fifth-largest bonus pool overall at $4,098,500. They committed a total of $1,525,000 to the signings of Carmona and Abreu, and an additional $875,000 with the signings of Tolentino and Maria. With those signings, they have another $1,698,500 of pool space left before factoring in the unreported (and thus perhaps negligible) bonuses of Melendez, Cruz, Medina, Salaya, and Molina.
It doesn’t appear as though the Brewers are going to be players for any remaining “big bonus” players, although there are still a few upper-tier prospects that haven’t been linked or signed with a specific team so maybe they’ll surprise us.
Another interesting wrinkle to this year’s market is what’s happening out in Boston. The Red Sox were penalized harshly for attempting to circumvent their bonus restrictions during last year’s signing period by using package deals, losing the ability to sign any international free agents this year as well as having the contracts of five players voided. If Milwaukee were to sign any one of righty Cesar Gonzalez, outfielders Albert Guiamaro and Simon Muzziotti, or infielders Antonio Pinero and Eduardo Torrealba, the first $300,000 of any potential bonus they earn wouldn’t count against their pool. The Red Sox were also expected to sign several upper-tier prospects from this year’s free agent class, as well, and those players will now be looking for new deals.