January 15 marks the official opening of the international signing period. While the vast majority of top talents have reached verbal agreements with teams months or years in advance, they’re allowed to formally put pen to paper to begin their affiliated careers. The signing period technically runs until December 15, but the top signees will ink their contracts as soon as first eligible.

Ben Badler of Baseball America and Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com are among those covering the activity. At MLBTR, we’ll highlight a few of the top signees. Both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline provide scouting reports and bonus information on more of the highly-regarded prospects. They’re each worth full reads for those interested in the class.

Note: MLB Pipeline ranks the class on talent. Baseball America orders the players by bonus amount, not on evaluations of the players’ ability. Since international amateurs are so young and tend to agree to their bonuses well in advance of signing day, a player’s profile can change significantly between the time they reach agreement on a bonus and the official opening of the window.

Some of the top names (ordered by signing bonus):

  • Jose Perdomo, SS, Braves: A right-handed hitting infielder from Venezuela, Perdomo leads the class with a $5MM signing bonus. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the #3 prospect in the group. He’s regarded as a polished hitter with a good chance to stick somewhere on the infield. Badler notes (on X) that the $5MM bonus is the largest ever for a Venezuelan player.
  • Leodalis De Vries, SS, Padres: De Vries lands the second-highest bonus at $4.2MM. Sanchez and Badler each indicate he’s now regarded as the most talented prospect in this year’s class. It’s the second straight year in which San Diego landed the #1 player in the international period after last year’s signing of catcher Ethan Salas. De Vries, a native of the Dominican Republic, is a 6’1″ switch-hitter. He draws praise for a well-rounded offensive profile with power potential and a chance to stick at shortstop.
  • Fernando Cruz, SS, Cubs: A $4MM signee out of the Dominican Republic, Cruz is a 5’11” infielder. Evaluators praise his bat speed and all-fields power potential. He draws attention for his athleticism and defensive toolset at shortstop. MLB Pipeline notes he has an aggressive offensive approach, while BA indicates some scouts have expressed concern about the length in his swing. MLB Pipeline ranks Cruz as the #4 talent in the class.
  • Dawel Joseph, SS, Mariners: Signed for $3MM from the Dominican Republic, Joseph is a right-handed hitter with a 6’2″ frame. That build leads to ample raw power projection. BA and Pipeline each indicate that Joseph has lost some of his formerly elite speed as he has grown, although he still has a shot to play somewhere up the middle. Both outlets suggest he sports more of a power-over-hit offensive profile.

A few others with a noteworthy signing figure and/or placement on MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings:

  • Yovanny Rodriguez, C, Mets: $2.85MM signing bonus, Venezuela native, MLB Pipeline’s #6 prospect
  • Victor Hurtado, OF Nationals: $2.7MM-2.8MM signing bonus*, Dominican Republic native, MLB Pipeline’s #20 prospect
  • Adolfo Sanchez, OF, Reds: $2.7MM signing bonus, Dominican Republic native, MLB Pipeline’s #5 prospect
  • Joswa Lugo, SS, Angels: $2.3MM signing bonus, Dominican Republic native, MLB Pipeline’s #37 prospect
  • Yandel Ricardo, SS, Royals: #9 on BA’s bonus board (specific number unreported), Cuba native, MLB Pipeline’s #16 prospect
  • Emil Morales, SS, Dodgers: #10 on BA’s bonus board (specific number unreported), Dominican Republic native, MLB Pipeline’s #14 prospect
  • Paulino Santana, OF, Rangers: $1.3MM signing bonus, Dominican Republic native, MLB Pipeline’s #2 prospect

* BA reports Hurtado’s bonus at $2.7MM, while MLB.com pegs it at $2.8MM

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