Chicago White Sox ink outfielder Josue Guerrero, other highly rated July 2nd prospects

The White Sox continue to infuse international talent into their system in the years after the David Wilder scandal. In my AZL preview, I talked about how names like Luis Castillo, Maiker Feliz, Felix Mercedes, and Franklin Reyes were all finally coming stateside. They’re serving as evidence that the process may finally be bearing some fruit again.

While the opening of today’s international signing period didn’t see Chicago land a Micker Adolfo level name, they did grab a few intriguing players in the middle of Baseball America’s Top 50 International Prospects list. Among those were Dominican outfielders Josue Guerrero (#33), Luis Mieses (#36), and Anderson Cosma (#37). Only Mieses made Fangraph’s Top 25 prospects and none of the trio slid into MLB Pipeline’s Top 30. 

The full signing breakdown saw Chicago take nine players in total, with signing bonuses per Baseball America and MLB.com’s Jessie Sanchez.

  • OF Josue Guerrero, Domincan Republic ($1.1 million)
  • OF Luis Mieses, Dominican Republic ($428,000)
  • OF Anderson Comas, Dominican Republic ($450,000)
  • SS Lenyn Sosa, Venezuela ($325,000)
  • RHP Henderson Caraballo ($350,000)
  • OF Anthony Coronado (Unreported)
  • RHP Brayan Herrera (Unreported)
  • LHP Hector Acosta (Unreported)
  • C Kleyder Sanchez (Unreported)

The White Sox have an international bonus pool of $2,973,500 for the July 2nd (2016) – June 15 (2017) signing period. Based on reported signing figures from Baseball America, the White Sox have spent about $2.6 million, meaning they’ll likely distribute $350,000 across the remaining names.

While teams like the Braves and Padres went for broke in this 2016-2017 signing period, the White Sox appear to be aiming to stay under their allotted pool. The White Sox would incur a 100% tax on any overage expenditure beyond their allotted $2,973,500. If they exceed their bonus pool by 15%, they’ll not only be taxed but also be capped from spending over $300,000 on any single player for the next two signing periods (2017-2018, 2018/2019).

With teams such as the Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, Diamondbacks, Rays, Royals, Angels, Blue Jays, Red Sox, and Yankees all in the penalty this year, there was an argument to be made for Chicago to take advantage and grab more premier names in this signing period. Evidently, the White Sox have decided to go for more volume rather than pedigree in their signings. It’s not a bad strategy for a team still thin on the international market and recovering from years of relative inactivity, but it may also indicate the White Sox weren’t overly enthralled with any of the top names. Premium players in this signing period like SS Kevin Martin (Braves) and OF Lazaro Armenteros (Athletics) come to mind.

This isn’t to say they didn’t sign some quality prospects just beyond the consensus top 30. Here’s a look at some standouts from this nine-player international signing haul.

Josue Guerrero, OF, Dominican Republic

Josue Guerrero is the most highly-touted name in the Chicago’s signing field. He’s got excellent baseball bloodlines in that he’s the nephew of former MLB standout Vladimir Guerrero and has enough raw talent to at least back up the name. Guerrero is a 6 foot, 185-pound 17 year-old outfielder with big time power but the aggressive approach that usually comes with it. Guerrero can expand the strike zone and his swing can get long at times. These traits give him a propensity to whiff and while Baseball America’s Ben Badler said some scouts saw a natural knack for hitting, he didn’t wow in his international showcase back in February. Badler also notes that “Guerrero is a limited athlete and runner with a below-average arm that might restrict him to left field, though his arm could get stronger.”

It’s not exactly ideal to see a player without the tools that typically lead to a nice floor, but Guerrero will do his best to counter that with his bat. This still feels like a high-risk signing considering Guerrero will absolutely need to hit to stick in the bigs and skews to the one-dimensional side. The financial commitment isn’t that far off from what the White Sox gave Micker Adolfo, although Adolfo was a superior athlete, so Guerrero may pose more risk.

Luis Mieses, OF, Dominican Republic

Luis Mieses is a 16 year-old outfielder who also hails from the Dominican Republic. His calling card is power, and FanGraph’s Eric Longenhagen sees a future 55-60 grade in that department. Mieses hits from the left side, but will never be anything to write home about defensively. He has an arm to play in right field, but he’ll need to hit to truly squeeze value out of his profile. That shouldn’t be too tall a task as he has a lot of projection left in 6’4″ frame, enough where his power may carry him. Longenhagen pegs him as “a useful big leaguer” if his contact skills become passable enough for him to tap into his pop. It’s not a bad signing in that Mieses already has a decent tool with a lot of remaining projection, and he’s young enough where he’ll have plenty of time to learn how to effectively use it.

Anderson Comas, OF, Dominican Republic

Anderson Comas is 6’4″ and comes in at 170 pounds. That leaves a lot of projection for the lanky outfielder who would also benefit from filling out his frame. The idea of Comas putting some more power into his smooth stroke is intriguing. Baseball America’s Ben Badler says he’s a “calm hitter with a short, clean swing that has minimal effort, consistently barreling the ball with good bat control.” What I like about Comas is that he has good control of the zone and can hit to all fields, with Badler saying he makes regular line drive contact.

Comas is a nice way to hedge picks like Guerrero and Mieses, who may offer more power, but have less of a feel for hitting. One very loose comp thrown out on Comas is Gregory Polanco, but this is mostly because he shares the same trainer. He’s not quite the athlete Polanco is, but Badler says his run game stands to improve along with his throwing strength. These skills could develop as he fills out and gets more power in his legs. Essentially, Comas is a nice bat with enough projection to have a chance to be a special player if he fills out.

 

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