$5 million Braves prospect draws Miggy comp

January 18th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Mark Bowman’s Braves Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Braves director of Latin American scouting Jonathan Cruz initially considered Gleyber Torres as the best comp for Jose Perdomo. This was certainly a complimentary evaluation, given Torres was MLB Pipeline’s No. 3 international prospect before he signed with the Cubs in 2013.

Torres has since earned a pair of All-Star selections and produced four 20-homer seasons for the Yankees.

If that’s what Perdomo becomes, the Braves will be happy with the investment they made on Monday, when they gave the 17-year-old Venezuelan a $5 million bonus to sign his first professional contract. It was the largest bonus given to any international prospect this year.

But the Braves will truly be thrilled if Perdomo, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 3 prospect in the 2024 international class, lives up to the comp a veteran scout gave Cruz a couple years ago.

“He said [Perdomo] looked like a young Miguel Cabrera, and that stuck with me,” Cruz said. “I started digging into old videos and started talking to the scout that signed [Cabrera]. And, yeah, I think that is the closest, real comp for Perdomo.

“I’m comfortable saying that. It’s a big name to compare him to -- a future Hall of Famer. But the bat was … that’s what Miggy looked like.”

Given recent history, Braves fans shouldn’t be overly concerned about whether Perdomo will reach the heights of Cabrera. But it’s understandable if they just want the young shortstop to be something more than Kevin Maitan. He was one of the franchise’s most-hyped international prospects since Andruw Jones and Wilson Betemit.

Right now, some of you are cussing Maitan and everything else pertaining to the Braves’ 2016 international class. The illegal assembly of this over-hyped group led to MLB levying significant sanctions against the organization. Eight years later, Maitan and most members of this class have not lived up to expectations.

You might remember when Maitan was given his $4.25 million signing bonus in 2016. was given a $100,000 signing bonus two years earlier. But you probably didn’t hear about that until he began blossoming into one of the game’s greatest players.

It’s difficult to project what you are going to get when you are taking college players and high school graduates in the MLB Draft. Most of those players range from 17-21 years old. The international market provides an even greater challenge as players begin to be targeted before they are teenagers.

“It’s the Wild West in international [scouting],” Cruz said. “We’re scouting these kids as young as we can scout them. If we’re scouting the [2024 or 2025 class] and we see a [2028 or 2029 eligible player] on the field, we’re not going to close our eyes.

“We wish it was kind of like the Draft process, where you come into a decision with three or four years of history, but that's not the case. So we do our best to get history early. And when the time comes, we’ll make an informed decision and, hopefully, get the right guy.”

Cruz said he first saw Perdomo at least three years ago, when a Venezuelan scout brought the young player for an early morning workout. This marked the start of a pursuit that could pay dividends near the end of this decade, around the time current contracts for Acuña and Ozzie Albies are set to expire.

Perdomo still has a baby face, much like the one Cabrera and others have displayed even after reaching the Majors. The hope is he’ll remain a shortstop. But like with a young Chipper Jones, his career will be defined by his bat, not his ability to play shortstop.

The sanctions levied in 2017 took the Braves out of the international market for a few years. This has influenced the lack of position player depth within their pitching-heavy farm system. Perdomo is the potential impact player the club was seeking.

“I would say [Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos] would say there’s instant value there,” Cruz said. “This is our shot at getting a guy who is going to impact us in a couple years. We’re not going to put a timetable on him. Everyone has different clocks. But we’re looking at a potential impact player in the bigs, not just an average player.”