(Source: Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks)
The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball on Tuesday signed 16-year old David Almonte to a $1 million contract.
Almonte is from Boca Chica, Dominican Republic and is a versatile infielder that can play multiple positions and has a variety of tools with his arm, hitting for power, and his fielding mechanics.
Fernando Garcia Dilone has trained Almonte at third base prior to his signing with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
Almonte is the second player from Dominican Republic that the SoftBank Hawks have signed with a seven-digit bonus, after the organization paid outfielder José Leonardo Ozuna, in December 2022, when he was 15 years old and signed for a $1 million contract.
International baseball agent and Dominican Republic academy operator JD Ozuna also helped with the signing of Almonte. JD Ozuna has signed other prospects in the past from the Dominican Republic to play in Japan along with players that are at the ages between 15-16 years old and other players who are 22 and 23 years old, that have already passed their eligibility years to play in Major League Baseball resulting in seeking other opportunities to play at the professional level in the independent leagues in the United States or in other countries.
No years have been announced for Almonte due to eligibility regulations in NPB along with playing in the minor leagues for the SoftBank Hawks during the 2024 regular season if he shows on a performance based level in training camp.
A Major League Baseball franchise will have to wait until 2025 for Almonte to be eligible to sign to any of the 30 organizations since he reached the age once the window from MLB which ended on August 31 with the international signing period.
The SoftBank Hawks have a track record of signing international free agents from Latin America that have helped the organization win seven Japan Series championship titles in 2011, 2014-15, and 2017-20. The SoftBank Hawks have 11 championship titles in the history of their franchise in NPB.
The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks will open their training camp to their minor leaguers and players on their official roster for the 2024 regular season during the middle of January.