In their previous two international signing classes, the Nationals put most of their bonus pool money into one player, with $3.9 million for Dominican shortstop Armando Cruz in 2021 and $4.925 million last year for Cuban outfielder Cristhian Vaquero.
This year’s class has a well-rounded mix of players that should give the Nationals a Dominican Summer League lineup with one of the deeper groups of position prospects that they have had there in recent years.
Top Of The Class
The Nationals signed 17-year-old Andy Acevedo, a lefthanded outfielder from the Dominican Republic, for $1.3 million. While Acevedo’s tools have ticked up over the last couple years, it’s his hitting ability that draws the most attention. He’s 6-foot-2, 175 pounds with a sound swing that has good bat path and he has the ability to manipulate the barrel well to square up pitches in different parts of the strike zone. It’s a fairly easy swing and he is starting to drive the ball with more authority now, and that power should continue to climb as he fills out his projectable frame. He’s an average runner who tracks the ball well in the outfield, with a good chance he gets exposure to all three outfield positions early in his career, projecting best as a corner outfielder long term.
Another $1.3 million signing, 17-year-old Dominican shortstop Edwin Solano has a compact, stocky strong build (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) with big bat speed and raw power. Solano isn’t that tall, but his combination of strength and bat speed allows him to drive the ball for extra-base damage with home run power to his pull side. Solano has good supplementary tools in addition to his power, with plus speed and a plus arm. Some scouts thought Solano might eventually outgrow shortstop and fit better at second or third base, but evaluators highest on him thought he could stick at the position. He has plenty of arm strength for the position with a quick release, good hands and footwork.
Names To Know
Juan Obispo, OF, Dominican Republic: Signed for $600,000, Obispo has some of the best raw tools of any player signed in 2023. He’s 6-foot-1, 190 pounds and an explosive, powerful athlete who flies around center field with 70 speed on the 20-80 scale and a plus arm. He’s a potential power/speed threat at a premium position, showing big pop in batting practice from the right side of the plate. His pure hitting ability is still crude as he’s learning to recognize offspeed stuff, but the upside is obvious if…