WBN’s Top Ten International Free Agent Signings (So Far…)

The signing period for international free agents started January 15. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

By Conor Liguori
World Baseball Network

The 2024 international signing period began on Monday, Jan. 15, allowing all 30 Major League Baseball teams to negotiate contracts with some of the best free-agent prospects worldwide.  

MLB teams are constantly searching for their next superstar, and these 10 players have taken the first step in starting their professional baseball careers.  

1. Leo De Vries, SS, Dominican Republic The No. 1 ranked international prospect by MLB.com, De Vries signed with the San Diego Padres on Monday for $4.2 million.  

The shortstop’s speed may be his best tool, as he has run a recorded time of 4.2 seconds from home plate to first base and 6.7 seconds in a 60-yard dash, according to MLB.com. He is a switch hitter and trains in the Dominican Republic year-round.  

“Immediately when we saw him, we knew it was a special talent,” Padres scouting director Chris Kemp told MLB.com. “We felt very comfortable that this was a special situation. To be able to add him with Ethan Salas, we were very proud of our whole scouting group.”  

2. Paulino Santana, OF, Dominican Republic – The No. 2 ranked international prospect by MLB.com, Santana signed with the Texas Rangers on Monday for $1.3 million.  

The 16-year-old is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and is viewed as a “natural hitter with plus-power potential,” according to his bio on MLB.com.  

His skill set has drawn comparisons to Seattle Mariners center fielder Julio Rodriguez, who has tremendous power and blistering speed on the basepaths.  

3. Jose Perdomo, SS, Venezuela – MLB.com’s No. 3 ranked international prospect by MLB.com, Perdomo signed with the Atlanta Braves on Monday for $5 million.  

Perdomo, 17, is recognized as one of the best pure hitters by MLB scouts and is a “fundamentally sound shortstop,” according to Jesse Borek and Jesus Cano of MLB.com.  

At 180 pounds, the youngster has plenty of time to gain strength and speed before playing in MLB.  

4. Fernando Cruz, SS, Dominican Republic MLB.com’s No. 4 ranked international prospect, Cruz signed with the Chicago Cubs on Monday for $4 million.  

Cruz, 17, is the cousin of former MLB infielder Starlin Castro and possesses a similar skill set. He was heavily linked to signing with the Chicago Cubs before Monday, according to Yardbarker.com.  

According to his MLB.com bio, Cruz is “An alert defender with a quick first step and an above-average arm; Cruz has the look and tools to hold down the shortstop position long-term.”  

5. Adolfo Sanchez, OF, Dominican Republic MLB.com’s No. 5 ranked international prospect, Sanchez, signed with the Cincinnati Reds on Monday for $2.7 million.  

Sanchez, 17, is “one of the best overall hitters in the class,” according to his MLB.com bio. He is a left-handed hitter and throws from the left side in the outfield.  

The Reds have experienced recent success with international prospects, including their starting shortstop, Elly De La Cruz, who is also from the Dominican Republic. Cincinnati has found a gem if Sanchez can rise to stardom like De La Cruz.  

6. Yovanny Rodriguez, C, Venezuela MLB.com’s No. 6 ranked international prospect, Rodriguez, signed with the New York Mets on Monday for $2.85 million.  

The Mets have their long-term catcher in Francisco Alvarez, but it always helps to add some extra depth. Rodriguez, 17, has the skill set to be a defensive wizard behind the plate.  

“Behind the dish, he shows an advanced defensive approach, and scouts rave about his upside. He is composed with an advanced and calculated, almost chess-like mindset for calling games,” his MLB.com bio reads.  

7. Dawel Joseph, SS, Dominican Republic MLB.com’s No. 7 ranked international prospect, Joseph, signed with the Seattle Mariners for $3 million on Monday.  

Joseph is just 16 years old and trains in the Dominican Republic. His MLB.com bio lists him as “an athletic shortstop with plus speed potential, and although he is not as quick as when he initially burst onto the scene, he still has enough wheels to be a threat on the basepaths.”  

Joseph is a right-handed hitter.  

8. Daiber De Los Santos, SS, Dominican Republic MLB.com’s No. 8 ranked international prospect, De Los Santos, signed with the Minnesota Twins on Monday. The contract details have yet to be announced.  

De Los Santos, 17, weighs just 160 pounds but can use speed in the infield to his advantage.  

“The athletic De Los Santos has fast hands and the potential to have arm strength and raw power. Overall, he’s emerging as a premium defender at a premium position,” his MLB.com bio reads.  

9. Adriel Radney, OF, Dominican Republic MLB.com’s No. 10 ranked international prospect, Radney, signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday for $1.85 million.  

Radney, 16, also draws comparisons to Julio Rodriguez and hits for both average and power. According to MLB scouts, Radney should begin his pro career in center field but could move to one of the corners as he grows into his body.  

The Diamondbacks seek to be competitive for years, and Radney could be a significant contributor in future seasons.  

10. Francisco Vilorio, OF, Dominican Republic MLB.com’s No. 15 ranked international prospect, Vilorio, signed with the New York Yankees on Monday for $1.75 million.  

Vilorio, 17, stands six feet four inches and weighs 212 pounds. The Yankees have recently gravitated towards strong, athletic prospects, including outfielders Spencer Jones and Jasson Dominguez.  

MLB scouts project Vilorio to be a middle-of-the-order bat, providing both average and power from the right side.  

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