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Braves expected to sign shortstop Ambioris Tavarez when International Signing Period opens Friday

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Here is a preview of who the Braves plan to sign in the 2020 (yes, 2020) International Free Agent class.

Atlanta Braves MiLB prospects take BP in Rome. Wayne Cavadi

It may be 2021, but we are approaching the 2020 MLB International Free Agent signing period. This is the period that was supposed to see these players sign on July 2, 2020, only to be delayed until now due to the pandemic.

Why I keep pointing out that this is the 2020 class, and not really the 2021 class is because of the international penalties facing the Braves. Yes, they’re still around. Fortunately this is the last year of them. The penalty for this year is seeing the team’s bonus pool slashed in half. With the penalty and minus $1 million from the signing of Marcell Ozuna last winter as a player who received a qualifying offer, the Braves have exactly $1,572,000 to spend.

Atlanta is widely expected to sign just one player of any significance and that player is Dominican shortstop/third baseman Ambioris Tavarez. That signing is rumored to cost the Braves $1.5M of that $1,572,000 which is basically the entirety of the money available. Tavarez is widely considered among the Top 30 prospects in this class, with some ranking him even higher than that. Tavarez is listed as a shortstop, though more see him as a third baseman long-term. He is a player the Braves went after for his bat, as he has real upside there with plenty of power projection.

Tavarez is 6’2 who has plus bat speed, significant raw power, and a strong throwing arm. Again, based on the body and projections for him, he is unlikely to stay at short, but the Braves are buying the bat here, they can figure out his final position at a later date.

They initially had a second player, shortstop Yeferson Tineo, but after pools were frozen at their 2019 levels and the signing of Ozuna cost the Braves money from their pool - a new addition to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, there wasn’t enough money.

Tineo is a borderline Top 30-50 type of prospect in this class, so this is a fairly significant loss. However he has been seen as more of a high floor guy than a high ceiling prospect, so it isn’t a massive loss. By most accounts, Tavarez is the better prospect of the two.

That’s pretty much the whole class, as the Braves will have what’s rumored to be $100k or less after signing Tavarez. They will still be able to sign prospects for smaller amounts of money, as players signed for $10k or less don’t count towards the pool limits.