Mets agree to terms with trio of top int'l prospects

January 16th, 2023

The Mets are excited about their class of international prospects and it could go down as one of the most athletic groups in recent history.

The club announced Monday it has agreed to terms with 27 players, including catcher Daiverson Gutierrez, the No. 27-ranked prospect on the top 50 international list. They also agreed to deals with outfielder Anthony Baptist, who ranks No. 29, and No. 43 Cristopher Larez.

The club also has agreements with left-handed pitcher Daviel Hurtado (Cuba), center fielder Heriberto Rincon (Dominican Republic), left-handed pitcher Wilmer Lugo (Venezuela), outfielder Enderson Asencio (Dominican Republic) and shortstop Keiver Garcia (Venezuela).

The Mets have a base signing pool of $5,284,000.

Gutierrez can hit, and his above-average power potential is noteworthy. Add that he plays a premium position, and it’s no surprise he was one of the most appealing prospects on the market. His power has drawn comparisons to Francisco Álvarez at the same age.

On defense, Gutierrez has a chance to have an above-average arm along with other emerging skills behind the plate. He has been praised for his plus makeup and his leadership skills. He is trained by Henderson Martinez, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program.

Baptist is one of the fastest players in the class and also one of the most exciting. He is expected to start in center field and stay at the position as he develops, primarily because of his speed, but also because he has the potential to be an above-average defender. He can chase balls down in the outfield, and like all prospects his age, he is working on fine-tuning his routes and angles.

The hope is that his speed -- he has been consistently clocked at 6.1 seconds in the 60-yard-timed run -- will also come into play on the bases and he can develop into a base-stealer in the future.

He trains with Pedro ”Nube” Nivar, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program, in the Dominican Republic.

As for Larez, he is one of the most polished shortstops in the class and has a chance to be a five-tool player at a premium position.

He already shows good bat-to-ball skills and has a chance to be a plus hitter in the future. There’s a chance he develops more power as he grows and his body matures. Defensively, his instincts are noteworthy, and he features all of the skills an emerging middle infielder needs to make his way through the Minor Leagues and eventually the big leagues one day.

Larez is trained by Robert Vahlis, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program.

An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between Jan. 15 and Dec. 15. He must turn 16 before he signs and be 17 before Sept. 1 the following year -- in practical terms, that means players born between Sept. 1, 2005, and Aug. 31, 2006, will be eligible to sign in the upcoming signing period. Players have to be registered with Major League Baseball in advance in order to be eligible to sign.

Teams are allowed to trade international bonus pool money starting Jan. 15.