With the draft officially over and we watch players recognize their dreams of becoming professional players it’s time to turn our attention to the impending July 2nd international signing period. After loading up on prep arms, 4 out of the first 6 picks were prep arms and 1 was a college arm, expect the Braves to go a very different route, loading up on young international bats. They did this last year spending big on two high upside players in Derian Cruz, an absolute burner who also makes a ton of contact, and Cristian Pache, who boasts an advanced approach and could be a long term center-fielder that hits for average and plays great defense, along with a slew of other players.
With a lot of the heavy hitters, think Yankees and Dodgers, unable to sign anyone for over $300,000 the Braves are expected to go all in this year to acquire the top talent available. Ben Badler of Baseball America notes that the Braves are expected to match or exceed what the Yankees did in 2014-15 when they signed 10 of the top 30 and spent, including penalties, around $34 million.
Kevin Maitan (SS, 3B, Literally any position I don’t care just get him and put his bat somewhere)
Showcased when he was just 13 years old Maitan is considered a generational talent and has been likened to being the best international prospect since Miguel Sano in 2009 and has been compared to Miguel Cabrera and Chipper Jones. With a great approach, advanced pitch recognition for his age, plus power potential, and extremely high baseball IQ it’s no surprise Maitan will likely shatter the record for Venezuelan players ($2.8M) as people are expecting him to be signed for $4M+. For reference the biggest signing bonus ever given out by the Braves was $2M to Derian Cruz just last year. Kevin Maitain is considered the #1 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Here’s a picture of him in Braves gear just because:
Abrahan Gutierrez, C
Blessed with a big arm Abrahan is considered the top catching prospect in this years’ international signing period. He is considered a line drive hitter with power that projects well with his swing. Abrahan has been rumored to draw nearly $3M and it would be lots of fun to watch him develop alongside Lucas Herbert whom the Braves drafted last year. Abrahan is considered the #18 international prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Yunior Severino, SS
Coming in at 5’10” 160 you wouldn’t guess that Yunior was considered one of the most offensively gifted players available, alas that is what the Braves potentially have on their hands. He’s considered to have extremely good bat speed that translates very well into game power. Severino is also expected to not be able to stick at SS and could see a move to second base which would give the Braves the potential for a hard hitting, solid defensive, second baseman. Yunior is considered the #19 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Yenci Pena, 3B
Across the board Yenci Pena is graded solidly with all of his tools being graded at least at 50 with his hit tool and fielding tool at 55. Yenci too is considered to have an advanced approach for his age with the bat, with good pitch recognition. Pena is a very well rounded prospect who could shoot up the prospect ranks. Yenci is considered the #22 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Livan Soto, INF
Another player out of Venezuela Soto is again considered to have an advanced approach at the plate at his age with the ability to spray the ball to all portions of the field. Soto is projected to be able to stay at SS. Livan is considered the #24 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Juan Contreras, RHP
OH GOD A PITCHER WHAT DO WE DO?! Contreras has a huge arm, working mid 90s as a SIXTEEN YEAR OLD, with an already special slider. He could be the best arm available and if he develops like projected could show case 3 plus pitches, and swag for days (MLB pipeline is quoted as saying he is “fearless” on the mound). Juan is considered the #26 prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Yefri del Rosario, RHP
Also working in the low to mid 90s as a 16 year old, Rosario has a big arm that also flashes a plus breaking ball and a developing changeup. Scouts have said he may be better suited for the pen because of his size (5’11” 165lbs) and strenuous arm action, but could see him sticking as a starter if some of the mechanics are worked out.