The 2022 international signing period opened on Saturday, as the Houston Astros inked 15 prospects, 12 being from the Dominican Republic and three from Cuba.
While not having a major splash that takes a high-paying signing bonus, the organization added a few highly touted names to their system.
The current signing period runs until Dec. 15, 2022, while smaller signings will be reported or added to the transaction page over the next year. Terms on the contract were not disclosed by the team, but numerous reports are putting the larger contracts in a common ballpark.
"“We are excited to welcome several international prospects to our organization as the 2021-2022 signing period opens,” said Astros Senior Director of Player Evaluation Charles Cook in a release. “None of our acquisitions would be possible without the support of Jim Crane and our ownership group’s commitment to investing in international talent.Each international signing is special as it represents the culmination of a collaborative process with contributions coming not only from our International Scouting department but also from Player Development, Sport Science, and Sports Medicine & Performance. We look forward to supporting this class of players as they begin their professional journey in our player development system.”"
The Astros add 15 international free agents at the start of the new signing period.
OF Luis Baez
Baez, 18-years-old, is ranked No. 27 by Baseball America on the publication’s top 100 prospect list.
"“Luis Báez projects to be an everyday right fielder with a special bat, ” said Dominican Republic Scouting Supervisor Alfredo Ulloa in a release. “Báez has a solid and durable build with above average strength for his age, which translates into present power.He projects to hit in the middle of the order with HR/RBI production and shows four solid tools on the 20-80 scouting scale. Luis has continued to develop his bat and defensive abilities and we are excited to add him to the organization.”"
RHP Carlos Espinosa
Espinosa, 20-years-old, signed for $480K, as Francys Romero reports.
"“Well, first of all, I thank God. I am very happy for this achievement,” Espinosa told Climbing Tal’s Hill. “Having signed with the Astros is a dream for which I have fought for, and I plan to continue fighting for.”"
OF Kenni Gómez
Gomez, 16-years-old, is the only Astros’ signing ranked by MLB Pipeline’s top 50 at No. 42 and was also ranked No. 47 by Baseball America.
IF Alberto Hernández
Multiple reports have Hernandez, 17-years-old, signing for $950K. The switch-hitting shortstop is known for his speed, running a 60-yard dash in 6.3 seconds.
"“This is a great thing to sign with this organization, which has always been one of my favorite teams,” Hernandez told Michael Schwab. “Wow I feel great that they are giving me this opportunity”"
The additions of Hernandez, Gomez and Espinosa put the Astros at 21 Cuban-born players in the system, which leads Major League Baseball. This is the first time an MLB system has had 20 or more Cubans since the 1960s.