Braves sign int'l SS prospect Benitez

January 16th, 2022

The Braves are adding a big shortstop with even bigger potential to their Minor League system.

The club announced Sunday it has signed infielder Diego Benitez, No. 10 on’s Top 50 International Prospects list, to a $2.5 million deal.

The Braves have a base signing bonus pool of $5,179,700.

Benitez, who has been compared to a young Manny Machado, can already drive the ball out of the ballpark and he hits line drives to all fields with authority. He shows good bat speed and a solid approach at the plate.

He’ll have to work on plate discipline and pitch recognition as he advances through the Minor Leagues, but that’s common for all young prospects. On defense, he shows good footwork, soft hands and a strong arm that has plus-plus potential. He has a chance to be an above-average runner as well.

The teen trains with Venezuela’s Emiro Barboza, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program.

Benitez was one of 14 signings the Braves announced on Sunday:

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association finalized a deal in March 2020 that addressed the international signing period during the pandemic. The 2022 international signing period runs through Dec. 15, 2022, the second year in a row the period, which previously began July 2, started in January.

The current rules also state that teams are not allowed to trade any of their international pool money. Signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years of age and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

Here are the prospects who have agreed to deals with the Braves in the 2022 international signing period:

Diego Benitez, SS, Venezuela -- $2,500,000
Douglas Glod, CF, Venezuela -- $1,300,000
Alexander Martinez, C, Venezuela -- $400,000
Josnaider Orellana, C, Venezuela -- $175,000
Maximo Maria, OF, Dominican Republic -- $100,000
Leiker Figueroa, SS, Venezuela -- $100,000
Didier Fuentes, RHS, Colombia -- $75,000
Jhonly Taveras, RHR, Dominican Republic -- $65,000
Luis Sanchez, SS, Panama -- $60,000
Robert Gonzalez, OF, Dominican Republic -- $50,000
Elian Garcia, OF, Dominican Republic -- $45,000
Alen Pineda, C, Mexico -- $45,000
Yorvi Pirela, RHS, Venezuela -- $40,000
Jhonny Martinez, RHS, Venezuela -- $35,000
Genderson Almonte, RHR, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Cristian Suarez, 3B, Dominican Republic -- $10,000