The annual international signing day, July 2nd, has become pretty anticlimactic. Changes in the rules and the way teams operate have resulted in the vast majority of top prospects having been all but signed by teams for months, in some cases more than a year. And the internet and the insatiable demand for baseball news now has multiple outlets extensively covering J2 signings, which means everybody pretty much knew already which teams have signed which players.
If you've been following the minor league thread for the past few months, you've known that the top two targets for the White Sox were Franklin Reyes and Fernando Tatis Jr. And, indeed, each player signed with the White Sox today.
Reyes is considered the headline signing, as he got a reported $1.5 million bonus. The righty played in the Dominican Prospect League ("DPL") and the Amateur Prospect League, as well as other tournaments, which means he has more "real" game experience than many of other players signing. The White Sox presumably got a very close look at him when he played in the Under Armour All-America game at Wrigley Field last year. The 16-year-old is a big boy, listed at 6'3" and 235 lbs (though never take those numbers at face value; last year he was described at 6'4" and he'll probably shrink further). However, he could easily grow into those and higher. With a September birthday, he is one of the oldest players eligible to sign for the first time.
As one might expect, the Dominican's plus tools are his power and his arm. Here's some of what Baseball America had to say:
He has an aggressive, raw hitting approach, getting caught off balance against live pitching with a lot of swing-and-miss, especially against breaking pitches with a long, loopy swing. Those highest on Reyes thought he was a good fastball hitter who was too caught up in trying to show off his power. Some thought he was already starting to turn the corner and would start to hit better once he got away from that showcase mentality.
He'll likely end up as, at best, a corner outfielder, as his speed and agility are below average. Here's some video of Reyes.
As you may have guessed, Tatis Jr. is the son of the major leaguer of the same name. He's a righty and, while listed as a shortstop, it is expected he'll end up a second or third baseman. He also played in the DPL. Listed as 6'1" and 175 pounds, the 16-year-old's makeup is well-regarded, in no small part because he grew up around the game. Here's a snippet from his scouting report on the DPL site:
Scouts like Tatis Jr.’s swing, his strong arm and his fluid actions on defense. He’s shown decent arm strength and raw power to his pull side. Tatis Jr.’s knack for barreling up balls and his repeatable swing have also impressed evaluators.
His bonus is reported to be $700K and, like many players from the DPL, he also negotiated a scholarship worth $100K, should baseball not work out. He's a native of Belize. Here is video of Tatis.
One other signing is official as of the publication of this article. Santo Vasquez is a Dominican shortstop with whom the White Sox were also connected. Another DPL alumnus, his bonus is reported to be $300K. He's a right-handed contact hitter with some speed and BA charitably described him as having "a compact, 6-foot frame".
The White Sox have also been connected with three other players:
He’s a corner outfielder who drew some praise from scouts who liked him for his lefthanded swing and ability to use the opposite field.
White Sox officially announce four signings, including Nova. No mention of Mendoza, though.
White Sox have agreed to terms with four international FAs: OF Franklin Reyes & IFs Brayant Nova, Fernando Tatis, Jr. and Santo Vasquez.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 2, 2015
And it sounds like we shouldn't expect any further official announcements today.
The White Sox expect additional Latin American signings in the coming months.— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 2, 2015
Some photos from today's signings: pic.twitter.com/lrHrL2m4Sa— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 2, 2015
Update 7/3/15 at 10:20am
BA reports Nova signed for $100K. It sounds like he's probably not a shortstop long-term. The Dominican is a switch-hitter and one of the older players to sign, as his August 28, 1998 birthday meant he was (barely) eligible to sign last year.