In November, Major League Baseball enacted harsh penalties on the Atlanta Braves for flagrant violations of the rules regarding the signing of international players. Twelve Braves prospects were freed from their contracts and are able to sign with new clubs, while also keeping their original bonuses.
The biggest name on the list was Kevin Maitan, who signed with the Los Angeles Angels yesterday for $2,220,000. Additional signings have been announced and here’s a quick take.
Yefri Del Rosario, RHP, Kansas City Royals: $650,000. Originally signed by the Braves for $1,000,000, Del Rosario posted a 3.62 ERA in 37 innings in his pro debut, split between the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League, with a 36/14 K/BB. With a fastball up to 96-97 MPH, the 6-2, 180 pounder obviously has impressive potential and is a high-upside arm with a bright future. Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com reports that Del Rosario turned down more money from other teams because his hero was Yordano Ventura and he specifically wants to pitch for the Royals.
Abrahan Gutierrez, C, Philadelphia Phillies: $550,000: Originally signed by the Braves for $3,540,000, Abrahan (not Abraham) Gutierrez is a Venezuelan catcher who made his pro debut in 2017, hitting .264/.319/.367 in 129 games for the Gulf Coast League Braves. The 6-2, 215 pound right-handed hitter knocked just one homer in his debut but is physically quite strong and should show more power as he refines his swing. While his receiving needs some polish he threw out 37% of runners and has the tools to stick behind the plate.
Livan Soto, SS, Los Angeles Angels, $850,000: Originally signed by the Braves for $1,000,000, Soto is another Venezuelan and like Gutierrez he made his pro debut in the Gulf Coast League. He hit just .225 with a .254 SLG but posted a nice .332 OBP thanks to 27 walks (against 26 strikeouts) in 173 at-bats. His defense is ahead of his offense at this point. Soto is not much of a hitter yet but his batting eye is a good marker and given his age he could end up being quite useful.