Today, July 2, marked the beginning of the international signing period in Major League Baseball, and your Houston Astros have already made a move. According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, the Astros have signed OF Gilberto Celestino from the Dominican Republic for $2.5 million. The contract includes a $2.25 million signing bonus and $275,000 for college.
The Astros front office hasn’t officially commented on the signing yet. My guess is that they took notice of his great athletic ability and instincts in the outfield. Celestino projects as a center fielder in the major leagues and definitely has the build to play that position. He’s been listed anywhere from 5’11’ to 6’2″ (seriously; you’ll find different measurements on different sites), and around 170 lbs. He’s only 16 years old, so he has some more time to grow.
Rankings and Scouting Report
Celestino is already ranked #7 on the top international prospects list produced by MLBPipeline.com, and he’s #17 on Baseball America’s ranking. He has a bit of an odd playing style as he bats exclusively from the right side, while throwing left-handed.
In the video that I watched of him on MLB.com, he seems to have good arm strength and fair accuracy that can definitely be improved. He’s only 16 years old, and he’s already called one of the “most polished players in his class” (MLBPipeline.com)
Astros fans will like to hear that he’s known in the Dominican Republic for being a real “gamer” because he has played very well in the major Dominican tournaments. Besides that, Astros fans can look forward to him making George Springer types of catches in center field as scouts believe that with a little instruction, he can turn into a stellar defensive player, as he already has great instincts.
It’s also worth noting that Celestino’s reported favorite player is Mike Trout. Hopefully, he’ll be playing against one of the MLB’s best sluggers very soon.
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