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Thread: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

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    Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    By Enrique Rojas
    ESPNdeportes.com

    Updated: June 12, 2008, 10:47 AM ET

    Less than a month after Major League Baseball's first-year player draft comes the big auction for Latin American prospects. No draft slot is necessary. Just bring loads of cash and make your best pitch.

    Starting on July 2, 16-year-old international players who will turn 17 after Sept. 6 may sign with major league clubs. Players who are 17 or older before Sept. 6 may sign at any time

    High expectations are likely to follow 6-foot-7 Michael Inoa wherever he goes.
    The 2008 sign-off edition features Dominican pitcher Michael Inoa, the crown jewel among the pool of 16-year-old players, any of who may sign with any major league club that meets his desires.

    Inoa (6-foot-7, 210 pounds) is a right-handed hurler with a three-pitch repertoire consisting of a fastball (93 mph), changeup and curve.

    "His most attractive asset is the fact that he has a lot of control for such a tall guy, and he knows what to do once he gets on the mound," said Ezequiel Sepulveda, a scout for the L.A. Dodgers in the Dominican Republic. "Inoa is every scout's dream. He has it all."

    Inoa has been evaluated by every MLB organization. The Yankees' Brian Cashman, San Diego's Kevin Towers, and Oakland's Billy Beane are a few of the major league GMs who made the trip to the Dominican Republic to catch a glimpse of the young gun.

    According to data obtained by ESPNdeportes.com, at least seven teams are ready to offer Inoa a $3 million signing bonus. Oakland, however, has the upper hand; the A's are ready to pay up to $4 million for Inoa.

    Right behind Inoa, two outfielders and one pitcher also have raised a lot of interest: right-handed pitcher Adis Portillo and outfielder Yorman Rodriguez of Venezuela, and Dominican outfielder Rafael Rodriguez.

    Each player will garner signing bonuses of at least six figures.

    "Inoa, Rodriguez, Yorman and Portillo would [challenge] the first selection if they were eligible for the American draft this year; I have no doubt about that," said a top AL executive.

    Also with high expectations on the prospect list are shortstops Gustavo Pierre and Alvaro Aristy, right-handed pitchers Santo Franco and Elvin Tavarez, left-handed pitcher Swarling Jimenez, and outfielder Julio Morban of the Dominican Republic; Venezuelan outfielders Luis Domoromo and Ramon Flores; Panamanian catcher Christian Betancourt; and Nicaraguan pitcher Jose Valdivia.

    Meanwhile, Dominican outfielder Juan Duran (Cincinnati/$2.0 million) and Betancourt (Atlanta/$600,000) already have been signed because they turned 17 before July 2.

    BEST LATINO PROSPECTS OF 2008
    NO. PLAYER POS AGE (BIRTHDATE) COUNTRY
    1 Michael Inoa RHP 16 (Sept. 24, 1991) Dominican Republic
    Comment: His father was an outstanding amateur ballplayer (Simon Inoa) and his mother a stellar softball hurler (Juana Ventura), so it is only fitting to find him throwing strikes so comfortably and consistently. Inoa could get a bonus in the range of $3 million to $4 million. The Oakland A's loom as the front-runner.
    2 Yorman Rodriguez OF 16 (N/A) Venezuela
    Comment: Many scouts compare Rodriguez with his countryman Miguel Cabrera. Like the Detroit star, Rodriguez is not fleet-footed, but his bat is extremely powerful and fast. His agent stopped showing him around awhile ago, which presumably indicates that he already has an oral agreement with a club.
    3 Adis Portillo RHP 16 (Dec. 20, 1991) Venezuela
    Comment: A big guy (6-3) with big hands and fingers, Portillo can toss a mean fastball (88-92 mph), changeup and curve with great command. He keeps the ball around the plate and is not afraid to throw his changeups in the dirt. Many clubs want him, but none of them will get him for less than $2 million.
    4 Rafael Rodriguez OF 16 (N/A) Dominican Republic
    Comment: To many, he is a duplicate of Vladimir Guerrero because of his size and power with the bat. Rodriguez can work the entire outfield and drive the ball anywhere. He has reportedly accepted an offer from the San Francisco Giants worth $2.5 million.
    5 Luis Domoromo OF 16 (Feb. 4, 1992) Venezuela
    Comment: Domoromo looks like a typical center fielder, although he has a good arm that could be used in right. He is a smart hitter and occasionally hits powerfully to the alleys. Perhaps he'll get $1.2 million from San Diego? It's possible.
    6 Alvaro Aristy SS 16 (Dec. 9, 1991) Dominican Republic
    Comment: A great middle infielder with good legs and average arm. Aristy has solid mechanics in his swing but lacks power. He has a solid build (6-0, 155) with room for growth in weight and strength. San Diego is closing in on him.
    7 Gustavo Pierre SS 16 (N/A) Dominican Republic
    Comment: Many scouts suggest Pierre's big frame (6-2) could cause teams to move him to third base early in his career. An agile player with a great swing, he has looked better in batting practice than in games. Rumors say he may have agreed to a deal with Toronto for almost $700,000.
    8 Santo Franco RHP 16 (Nov. 28, 1991) Dominican Republic
    Comment: Franco has a great build for a pitcher (6-5, 175). His fastball (88-90 mph) has yet to reach its potential, but he has shown good command of his changeup and curve. He has looked better in real games than in exhibitions.
    9 Swarling Jimenez LHP 16 (Nov. 27, 1991) Dominican Republic
    Comment: Jimenez is a left-handed version of Pedro Martinez. He is not so big (6-0, 165 pounds), but he has wide shoulders and a good arm. He likes to pitch inside using a fastball (88-90 mph), changeup and curve.
    10 Elvin Tavarez RHP 16 (Sept. 7, 1991) Dominican Republic
    Comment: Tavarez (6-2, 170 pounds) is a diamond in the rough that, once properly polished, can become a great pitcher in the majors. Right now he has an 87-90 mph fastball that may speed up with more maturity. He has great presence on the mound.
    11 Julio Morban OF 16 (Feb. 13, 1992) Dominican Republic
    Comment: Morban can play anywhere in the outfield, but his good defense and arm belong in center field. He is not too big (5-11, 178) but has speed on the base paths and swings an occasionally powerful bat. Morban bats from the left side and has a strong grasp of the game.
    12 Ramon Flores OF 16 (March 26, 1992) Dominican Republic
    Comment: Flores is a fast runner and an excellent defensive outfielder. This left-handed hitter has good mechanics at the plate, great control of the bat and power to the alleys. He can easily add 25 pounds to his frame (6-0, 160) and gain more power in the process.
    13 Jose Valdivia RHP 16 (March 19, 1992) Nicaragua
    Comment: Valdivia has a nice build (6-3, 185) but needs to work on his mechanics, something that is not surprising if we take into account that he turned 16 in March. Valdivia pitches with a three-quarter arm slot, and his fastball reaches 91 mph.
    14 Carlos Perez LHP 16 (Nov. 20, 1991) Dominican Republic
    Comment: Perez is a lefty with a lot of presence, a loose arm and smooth moves on the mound. He will have to work on toning his body. He has a fastball that moves a lot and a curve with a lot of spin. The Yankees have showed great interest in him and are rumored to have offered a hefty $850,000 bonus for him.
    OTHER HOT PROSPECTS
    Dominican Republic: 3B Aderilyn Rodriguez, OF Easdras Abreu, OF Yeico Calderon, SS Jose Osoria, 3B Jose Lorenzo, LHP Alfredo Heredia, RHP Manuel Montilla, SS Engel Vallejos, 3B Jefry Peña, 3B Roberto Pina, 3B Darwin Rivera

    Venezuela: C Jackson Valera, LHP Ismael Guillon, RHP Alvin Mejias, C Oscar Perez, SS Luis Cortes, RHP Jose Perdomo, SS Luis Villogas, RHP Josue Castellanos

    Colombia: SS Jonathan Barrios, OF Jair Lopez

    Panama: OF Abdul Nieto

    http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3433834
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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    International Signing Period Preview

    Teams prepare to spend big in Latin America

    By Ben Badler
    June 11, 2008
    E-mail Print

    The start of what should be an expensive international free-agent market began earlier this year, when the Reds signed 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Juan Duran for $2 million.

    Duran was born Sept. 2, 1991, leading to a blanket assumption in the international scouting community that he was ineligible to sign until this July. Reds assistant general manager Bob Miller saw his birthdate and realized that the Reds—or any other team—could sign the power-hitting outfielder right away thanks to a technicality in the rules.

    But Duran's bonus almost certainly won't be the highest payout given to an international teenager this season, with reports that at least three players could surpass his $2 million price tag in the coming weeks.

    Sources have told Baseball America of at least eight players who are expected to collect signing bonuses of at least $1 million. Last year, three players received $1 million or more: Red Sox third baseman Michael Almanzar ($1.5 million), Yankees outfielder Kelvin De Leon ($1.1 million) and Mariners shortstop Jharmidy DeJesus ($1 million).

    Wily Mo Pena's $2.44 million bonus from the Yankees in 1999 is the record for an international amateur signing, excluding Cuban defectors. There are at least two and possibly three players who could break that record. The big money is expected to trickle down, with players who might typically be considered more marginal prospects in line to receive higher bonuses than comparable players from last year's signing period.

    "The money," said one international scout, "is getting bananas."

    Players who are at least 16 are eligible to sign during the international signing period, which lasts from July 2 until the end of August. Players who turn 16 during the international signing period can sign on their birthdays.

    Some international scouts say some teams are spending their money simply to make a statement. Others see it as teams reevaluating the value of international players, who still are generally cheaper than drafted players. And like all homegrown talent, these players can be cost-controlled for their first three years of service time, followed by three seasons at below-market value in their arbitration years.

    "Teams who have not had much success in Latin America can point to teams like the Rockies and Arizona," said one international scout. "Teams going to the playoffs are the ones signing Latin American guys who go to the major leagues. But they don't spend that much money—it comes down to scouting and how you allocate the money. You see all these teams now, they have done nothing in Latin America and they're saying they have to do something about it."

    The teams showing more interest in big-money international signings this year than in the recent past include the Reds, Athletics, Padres, Astros, Cardinals and Indians, with the Padres strongly linked to at least three players who could sign for seven-figure bonuses. In the weeks leading up to July 2, Baseball America will give subscribers more insight on some of the players expected to command the highest bonuses.

    Arguably the market's top talent is righthander Michel (not Michael, as first reported) Inoa, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound righthander from Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic. Inoa's fastball works at 91-94 mph, and scouts see even more projection with his size, athletic bloodlines, fluid arm action and easy mechanics.

    Several teams have been linked to Inoa already, including international heavyweights such as the Yankees, Red Sox, Mets and Mariners, while the Athletics have also popped up as a serious contender. Sources have indicated that Inoa will receive a bonus in excess of $2.5 million, and one international scout said agent Adam Katz of Wasserman Media Group, who represents Inoa, is "starting the bidding" at $3.5 million.

    While the A's have never been big spenders on the international front, new money in the international market is shaping up to be one of the themes of this year's signing period. Oakland made its mark in Latin America in early February, when the club signed 17-year-old outfielder Robin Rosario for $350,000, a franchise record for a bonus spent on an international player.

    The Indians could also leave a large footprint on this year's international signing class, though one formerly hot name who had been linked to them seems to have lost much of his luster. Several international sources have said the Indians had agreed with Dominican shortstop Edward Salcedo for a $2.9 million deal earlier this year, but months later no deal has been announced.

    Nearly a dozen international scouts, agents and front-office officials have told Baseball America they believe Salcedo is older than his reported age of 16. Agent Scott Boras, whose Scott Boras Corp. represents Salcedo, said in March that Salcedo's documents are in order, but for now he remains unsigned.

    Major League Baseball acknowledged two and a half months ago that it was investigating Salcedo's personal documentation—a routine process for Latin American signees—while rumors of Salcedo's signing with the Indians began back in February. The Indians have not acknowledged any agreement with Salcedo, and all indications are that Salcedo is no longer generating big buzz on the international scene.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...08/266316.html
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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    This Michel Inoa kid is unreal. 6-7 and 205 already and only 16 years old with a fastball that touches 94. Simply amazing. I'd love to see Castellini throw about five million at him but it will never happen.
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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    I wonder how this changes the draft for teams who don't have high draft picks? If you have a weak draft, does it make since to make picks on signability and throw money at the international players insead?

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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    Hopefully baseball will once day close this absurd FA loophole for International Players.

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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    How would Duran rank in these lists?
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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    Quote Originally Posted by 11larkin11 View Post
    How would Duran rank in these lists?
    I was wondering the same thing. I'm guessing most people won't be able to answer though.

    Here's a question...do you think that at some point, Latin players will need to be drafted the same way HS/college players are? Do you think it'd be a good idea. It just seems like it may be headed that way.

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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    According to Baseball America, the Reds are showing strong interest in Yorman Rodriguez, the 16 year old outfielder from Venezuela who is listed as the second best prospect available behind Inoa. BA says he runs a 6.4 60-time and his power and speed rate as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. Scouts liken him to Miguel Cabrera and expect him to sign for around 2 million. Hopefully the Reds can get him signed. Adding Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez plus Yonder Alonso in the span of three months would be a major haul.
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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    According to Baseball America, the Reds are showing strong interest in Yorman Rodriguez, the 16 year old outfielder from Venezuela who is listed as the second best prospect available behind Inoa. BA says he runs a 6.4 60-time and his power and speed rate as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. Scouts liken him to Miguel Cabrera and expect him to sign for around 2 million. Hopefully the Reds can get him signed. Adding Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez plus Yonder Alonso in the span of three months would be a major haul.
    I would just be thrilled that the Reds are throwing this kind of money into the development of the system.

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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    According to Baseball America, the Reds are showing strong interest in Yorman Rodriguez, the 16 year old outfielder from Venezuela who is listed as the second best prospect available behind Inoa. BA says he runs a 6.4 60-time and his power and speed rate as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. Scouts liken him to Miguel Cabrera and expect him to sign for around 2 million. Hopefully the Reds can get him signed. Adding Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez plus Yonder Alonso in the span of three months would be a major haul.
    When is the date when teams can start negotiating with him?

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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    Quote Originally Posted by Grande Donkey View Post
    When is the date when teams can start negotiating with him?
    July 2nd to August 31st.

    If a kid turns 16 on say, July 24th, he can't sign until that day.
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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I would just be thrilled that the Reds are throwing this kind of money into the development of the system.
    Me too. Hopefully they stop throwing money at Josh Fogg and David Weathers types and start spending that money on the farm. I'd like to see them throw about five million at Michel Inoa.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    Me too. Hopefully they stop throwing money at Josh Fogg and David Weathers types and start spending that money on the farm. I'd like to see them throw about five million at Michel Inoa.
    I wouldn't.... just something about that much money at a 16 year old pitcher, too much of a risk for my taste.

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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    Quote Originally Posted by OnBaseMachine View Post
    According to Baseball America, the Reds are showing strong interest in Yorman Rodriguez, the 16 year old outfielder from Venezuela who is listed as the second best prospect available behind Inoa. BA says he runs a 6.4 60-time and his power and speed rate as a 70 on the 20-80 scale. Scouts liken him to Miguel Cabrera and expect him to sign for around 2 million. Hopefully the Reds can get him signed. Adding Juan Duran and Yorman Rodriguez plus Yonder Alonso in the span of three months would be a major haul.
    1 and possibly 2 contradictions from one to the other. 1 says he is fast and the other says he isn't and unless we are the mystery team he has an agreement with it's not looking good for us to sign him.

    2 Yorman Rodriguez OF 16 (N/A) Venezuela
    Comment: Many scouts compare Rodriguez with his countryman Miguel Cabrera. Like the Detroit star, Rodriguez is not fleet-footed, but his bat is extremely powerful and fast. His agent stopped showing him around awhile ago, which presumably indicates that he already has an oral agreement with a club.
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    Re: Inoa, 16, at head of Latin American prospect class

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I wouldn't.... just something about that much money at a 16 year old pitcher, too much of a risk for my taste.
    I agree. That much money could have several of the players tiered just below Onoa signed.


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