2009 Int’l Signings Announced

Jay Yencich · August 4, 2009 at 1:40 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Ryan Divish got a neat scoop on the international signings made by the Mariners this period. The brief list goes like this, but additional comments can be found over there from our man Engle.

From Colombia:
IF Diego Mina

From the Dominican Republic:
OF Guillermo Pimentel
OF Alfredo Morales

From Korea:
C Ji-Man Choi (gee-mon CHOY)
RHP Seon-Gi Kim (sun key KIM)

From Panama:
RHP Waldy Alvarez

From Venezuela:
3B Andres Brito
OF Alexy Palma
RHP Julian Alvarado
RHP Daniel Mata

I’m going to put my comments after the jump, as not everyone goes nuts over this stuff like I do.

The big haul is Pimentel, obviously. I’ve talked about him earlier, but the brief recap is that he’s a corner outfielder and a lefty power hitter, whose approach isn’t half bad. The ball certainly leaps off his bat. Palma, I’ve also talked about a bit. Basically, think Denny Almonte, except not a switch-hitter and from a land of erratic competition and you’d be pretty close. He’s big, he’s fast, he throws hard, he hits balls really far, when he makes contact, but his tools are what scouts dream on, not his skills.

The other three Venezuelan signings are ones that I know less about. I do know that Mata, who is the taller of the two pitchers by an inch, is rumored to be throwing in the high-80s already and, along with Palma, has been part of Venezuela’s youth teams for some time. He has the polish, and is a several months younger, but some think that the lighter and shorter Alvarado will end up being the superior pitcher. Brito was a bit of a secret well-kept by the M’s, but they seem to really love his power potential and regarded him as one of the best signings they made. He’s a big kid already and currently plays third, but it seems like, as was the case with de Jesus, they might move him to first. Those three (and perhaps Palma as well) combined to make $1 million, so they’re six-figures.

I was on Kim and Choi, the two Korean signings back in the early spring. The short of it is that Choi came up as a third baseman and has great arm strength and leadership skills, so they thought it would work to put him behind the plate where his lefty bat, widely regarded to be the best among the prep hitters in the country, would be additional plus in his column. Shortly after that, they went out and found him a battery mate in Kim. The profile with him isn’t quite as interesting, as he throws high-80s and his curve isn’t quite complete yet. They talk about his mechanics a bit and how good they are, so it could be that his delivery is less violent, which is why he doesn’t have the big time velocity of past signings. The two of them were collectively signed for a million, each getting roughly half.

Mina seems to have plus foot speed and good arm strength, derived from a history as a pitcher. Bonus points are given to him for making statements like the money was unimportant and that he just wants to be in the big leagues, and his make-up is given some positive mentions. He seems to have been playing as a third baseman around the youth leagues in Colombia, but he might have a chance in the middle infield. The Mariners seem to have been following him for a few years now.

I don’t have anything on Morales or Alvarez. It’s possible that they were playing under different names before now, so I’ll defer to Engle in this case. Morales hits lefty, runs well, and has a good work ethic. Alvarez is a big kid at 6’2, 170 lbs. Alvarez is one of only a few Panamanians in the system, possibly only second, but either way I get to type Panamanian more often. It just rolls off the keyboard.


18 Responses to “2009 Int’l Signings Announced”

  1. mymrbig on August 4th, 2009 2:10 pm

    No middle infielders unless they move Mina.

  2. Jay Yencich on August 4th, 2009 2:26 pm

    Nope. But these are likely the “major signings”, and that doesn’t mean that they’re not also looking at some younger players who won’t turn 16 until around spring training and end up signing then as a result. A few of those go down at six figures every year, with the Mariners having a reputation for them.

  3. Mike Snow on August 4th, 2009 2:31 pm

    Wait, how does that work? I had the vague impression that July 2 was the first available signing date for international prospects who turned 16 the previous year. If they don’t turn 16 until later, they can sign until sometime in the spring, and then there’s a dead period or something?

  4. Jay Yencich on August 4th, 2009 2:37 pm

    Yeah there’s a dead period, the cutoff date is rather vague. I don’t know the ins and outs of it, but Bertin Sanon, who turned 16 on July 14th of the 2005, ended up signing on March 11th of 2008. I’m guessing that it has to do with age from the previous year.

  5. Mike Snow on August 4th, 2009 2:46 pm

    I’m not sure what Sanon would have to do with it, if he signed in 2008 when he was 18. That would mean he passed two signing dates after his birthday. I thought the sequence was simply:

    1) Turn 16
    2) Wait for the following July 2
    3) Sign with a team whenever you want

  6. Jay Yencich on August 4th, 2009 2:50 pm

    I think there’s a cutoff. Because Jharmidy de Jesus was signed in the period after he turned 17, but he had to sign when he new period opened up. I’m thinking that eighteen might be the date at which it no longer applies.

  7. Mike Snow on August 4th, 2009 3:01 pm

    Ah, here we go:

    Players who are at least 16 are eligible to sign during the international signing period, which lasts from July 2 until the end of August. Players who turn 16 during the international signing period can sign on their birthdays.

    It’s not clear whether this still applies when the player is 18 or not. Based on Sanon’s case, I assume it doesn’t. And in theory, this would mean De Jesus could have been signed in either 2005 (for two days, his birthday is at the end of August) or 2006, but once he missed those windows he ended up in the 2007 signing period.

  8. Jay Yencich on August 4th, 2009 3:04 pm

    End of August implies that there could be more though, and we just wouldn’t hear about them because in 80% of these cases no one knows anything about these players and teams are generally eager to report the big stuff earlier.

  9. Mike Snow on August 4th, 2009 3:10 pm

    The pressure to hook up will push nearly everybody to the early part of the window anyway. It’s much like what you see with college recruiting and letters of intent.

  10. timandren on August 4th, 2009 4:14 pm

    Thanks Jay for your continued awesomeness.

    How is our system looking overall considering these signings, the draft and the recent trades?

  11. tgf on August 4th, 2009 4:15 pm

    Compared to past international signings, it looks like the Mariners are stressing left handedness in the hitters a bit more, presumably to take advantage of Safeco. Seems like a wise move.

  12. Typical Idiot Fan on August 4th, 2009 4:22 pm

    RHP Waldy Alvarez

    Oh God… I have visions of Van Halen running through my mind…

    “Hello… WAL-DY…”

    *cue “Hot For Teacher” guiter riffs*

  13. Jay Yencich on August 4th, 2009 6:01 pm

    Thanks Jay for your continued awesomeness.

    How is our system looking overall considering these signings, the draft and the recent trades?

    You’re welcome, but it’s no big, being awesome is pretty much all I do… Ah! the rocks, they are being thrown at me!

    I think things are on the up-and-up for the most part. We lost depth in the Pittsburgh trade, but the Detroit one brought back Robles, who has a higher ceiling than all of the above save maybe Pribanic, who has that plus sinker. I think I still take Robles on velocity, experience, and handededness. We’ve also effectively resolved the issue of lacking starting depth in the high minors and we should have enough to last us until better arms come along. I’m still concerned about the possible drop in production at the infield corners in the near future, pending moves, but we’re pretty well set for the time being.

    Compared to past international signings, it looks like the Mariners are stressing left handedness in the hitters a bit more, presumably to take advantage of Safeco.

    You’ll also note that the draft played the same way. In 2009, the Mariners drafted twenty-seven hitters, of which fifteen were left-handed, three were switch, and nine were righties. In 2008, there were twenty-one hitters, ten each of lefties and righties and one switch, and in 2007 it was six lefties, three switches, and eight right-handed batters out of seventeen. Not a huge difference, as I think the value of lefties is not exactly a secret, but it seems like a sort of favoritism is being made known.

    Oh God… I have visions of Van Halen running through my mind…

    “Hello… WAL-DY…”

    *cue “Hot For Teacher” guiter riffs*

    I prefer that my prospects be named after famous physicists or generals that had beef with how Rome conducted its business, but I approve.

  14. marc w on August 4th, 2009 9:01 pm

    “or generals that had beef with how Rome conducted its business”

    You stole my bit!

  15. Jay Yencich on August 4th, 2009 9:25 pm

    That was your bit? I lose track of whose bit is whose sometimes.

    Anyway, I think we can all agree that we look forward to the day when the Mariners inevitably sign [Carthaginian, Gaul, or Celtic General] [Pioneering physicist’s surname] [Name derived from iconic hard rock classic] [Butchered Russian surname] Bastardo.

    [while I would appreciate individual variants, this is the kind of thing that I would inevitably get carried away with and I don’t want to give the mods a headache]

  16. marc w on August 4th, 2009 11:17 pm

    I don’t actually think it was MY bit, I just cared for it for a while.
    I do indeed look forward to that day, and to the day when we create the all-time best prospect name and also don’t get banned from USSM.

  17. Lonnie on August 5th, 2009 12:34 am

    I was right there with you back when the news of the Korean signing broke, and I remember reading an article that made me chuckle a bit (and also a little concerned).

    I can’t remember if it was the Korean government, or the governing sports agency in Korea that did it, but during some of the tryouts they razed the stands behind homeplate so that foreign scouts couldn’t effectively use their radar guns or get a good view of incoming pitches. I guess they are getting a bit peeved about losing their prep players to the U.S.

    Looking at how well they did during the WBC, I got the impression that Korea wants to become a baseball powerhouse.


  18. naufrago on August 5th, 2009 1:40 pm

    we look forward to the day when the Mariners inevitably sign [Carthaginian, Gaul, or Celtic General

    We look backward, to Asdrubal Cabrera. Asdrubal was Hannibal’s brother.

    Bavasi got rid of Mr. “Defeated the roman legions while riding an elephant.”

    But acquired “Joe Glass.” Sort of, Vidro is glass in Italian…

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.