When it was revealed that head international scout Dave Wilder was involved in a bonus skimming scandal, the White Sox instantly became the laughing stock of the international market as the team lost legitimacy in the eyes of players and trainers alike (despite that similar acts, albeit possibly smaller in scale, were rampant across teams). This incident would cause the White Sox to become a near non-factor in the July 2nd market as they invested very little resources in Latin America and as a result a vital source for amateur talent was off limits.
However, things started to trend in a positive direction for the Sox in 2011 when they hired top international scout Marco Paddy away from the Blue Jays and put him in charge of the team’s international efforts. Under Paddy’s direction the White Sox have rebuilt their credibility in both the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, and the team has fortified their presence in Cuba with the signing of Jose Abreu.
So far during his tenure with the Sox, Marco Paddy has signed some intriguing players for the White Sox and some of them have already made their way stateside: Luis Martinez, Victor Done, Johan Cruz amongst others and most notably Micker Adolfo, a player who holds the distinction of being Paddy’s highest profile amateur signing at $1.6 Million.
Under Paddy, the team has employed the strategy of spreading their bonus pool around across multiple players. The 2014 cycle is the perfect example of this as they signed Amado Nunez ($900K), Ricky Mota ($750K), Jhoandro Alfaro ($750K), and Felix Mercedes ($250K). Overall the White Sox spent $4.7 Million in the 2014-15 cycle, the fifth most in all of baseball, which is impressive when you consider how multiples teams like the Cubs, Rays and Yankees have spent over their allotted bonus pools.
For this upcoming July 2nd signing period, the White Sox are armed with the seventh highest bonus pool at $3,443,000. As we get closer to the first day of the new international signing period, tons of information is coming out about who the White Sox are attached to. Let’s take a look at some players where such a link has been reported.
NOTE: The tool grades are based off of grades from other sites (i.e. Baseball America), what I have seen from video and read from articles across the internet. With all players in this age range, projection is highly subjective.
Franklin Reyes’s calling card is his power as it grades out at a 60 ot even 70 right now and according to Kiley McDaniel his bat speed currently grades out at 60 although his swing could use some tightening up. He has a nice swing that reminds me of Jorge Soler and when he makes contact the ball jumps off the bat. Reyes has a very muscular tone to his body and good size at 6’4″. Although he currently plays right field, it is expected that Reyes might move to first base as he is a below average runner and is expected to lose a step. He has experience on the international circuit and he played at the Under Armor All American Game this past summer. He is expected to sign with the Sox for $1.4 Million according to Kiley McDaniel.
- HIT: 40
- POWER: 70
- ARM: 60
- FIELD: 40
- RUN: 30
FERNANDO TATIS JR.
The son of 11 year major league veteran Fernando Tatis, Tatis Jr. has the bloodlines that scouts appreciate. He stands out amongst his peers for his game-oriented approach and excellent character and competitive nature, which is to be expected when you grow up around the big leagues. According to MLB Pipeline, Tatis Jr. can make solid contact and consistently puts the barrel to the ball. From what I have seen he does have a pronounced toe tap and that could be zapping whatever power he has and that could lead to a bigger swing, but with instruction that could be corrected. He has a very projectable frame and the power will come as he matures and gets stronger but he might have to move to either second or third base as his body matures. Sounds very similar to recent White Sox signee Amado Nunez, who the White Sox are very high on.
- HIT: 55
- POWER: 40
- ARM: 60
- FIELD: 50
Amarista is a starting pitcher out of Venezuela and is regarded to be one of the best young pitchers in the country. From what I have seen he has a nice compact delivery, while he may lack the plus fastball that scouts look for he does have a good feel for his secondary pitches, those being his changeup and curveball. His profile as a pitcher reminds me of a young Johan Santana, a fellow native of Venezuela who as a prospect lacked the fastball velocity but impressed scouts with his command and feel for his secondary pitches, including the one of the best changeups that I have ever seen. MLB Pipeline says that he has a knack for throwing strikes and has high pitching IQ on the mound.
- FASTBALL: 50
- CHANGEUP: 50
- CURVEBALL: 50
- CONTROL: 50
Marchan is a very decorated player on the international competition circuit and he has a reputation of being a gamer and big time performer. He led all players in runs scored in a recent 18U international tournament. When you look Marchan up on the internet and take a look at his in game performances one thing is apparent… he can hit. He makes consistent contact and is a tough out. For those who are worried about his size or lack thereof, take a look at Jhoandro Alfaro who was first reported to be 5’8′, 200 lb himself but currently stands at 6’1″, 180 lb. Marchan is only 16 years old, so he should be in for a growth spurt in the near future. MLB Pipeline has his power graded at a 30 but as his body matures that should increase. His future is behind the plate despite playing shortstop in various tournaments.
- HIT: 60
- POWER: 30
- ARM: 60
- FIELD: 50
- RUN: 30
***Let me start off by saying that there seems to be virtually no video currently available of this next player, the only video out there is a 11 second video on Youtube of him working out. There is also an interview on MLB.com but that is it.***
EDDY JULIO MARTINEZ
Since there is very little information out there about Martinez, where is what MLB Pipeline had to say about him:
Think a young Andruw Jones. That’s how some scouts have described the 20-year-old center fielder from Cuba. Evaluators like his body — described as solid and compact — and his athleticism. But there’s a lot more to like. In the batter’s box, Martinez has a quick and compact power stroke. He’s shown the ability to hit home runs to all fields and work the counts. He’s speedy out of the box and shows base-stealing potential. Described as “hard-nosed,” Martinez is aggressive and not afraid to take an extra-base. Martinez has shown good instincts on defense and the ability to cover the gaps in the outfield. Those skills combined with a playable and accurate arm make scouts believe he will stay in center field and could be in the big leagues in after a couple of seasons in the Minor Leagues. Scouts also like that Martinez has experience playing for Cuba’s junior national teams in Mexico and Venezuela and that he spent two seasons with Las Tunas in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, the island’s top league.
I remember watching the Atlanta Braves when they were on TBS and seeing Andruw Jones make at least one play every game that would help the Braves win. If Martinez is that type of player the Sox should go all in on Martinez and say to hell with the penalties as he would provide the organization with a major building block going forward. From the sound of things Martinez has a chance to be a 30/30 player in the majors and he sounds similar to Mike Trout, a player that he tries to emulate. He could command a contract similar to Yoan Moncada and the aforementioned Jorge Soler. Martinez has recently begun to field offers from major league teams.
Future Tools (Ceiling)
- HIT: 60
- POWER: 60
- ARM: 60
- FIELD: 60
- RUN: 70
*It is important to note that if the White Sox due end up signing Martinez that they may be missing out at the chance to sign the two headliners of the 2016 July 2nd class, Kevin Maitan and Abraham Gutierrez. Matian has been labeled by Kiley McDaniel to be the best international prospect since Miguel Cabrera who scouts frequently compare him to. And Gutierrez is a young, power hitting catcher who has been hailed by scouts and trainers as the next Mike Piazza.
The White Sox have become major players internationally (in Latin America at least) under Marco Paddy. While not having a second or third round pick in the upcoming 2015 MLB Draft, this international class is that much more important to the organization as they look to become self reliant like the Atlanta Braves of the 1990s and 2000s.
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