Nationals land a pair of highly touted international prospects

January 15th, 2024

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals agreed to terms with 20 international free agents, including No. 20 international prospect outfielder Victor Hurtado and No. 23 prospect third baseman Angel Feliz as the 2024 signing period opened on Monday.

Hurtado’s deal is expected to be worth $2.8 million and Feliz’s $1.7 million, according to an industry source. The Nationals have a $5.284 million base signing pool.

“I love all the players that we got,” Nationals director of international operations Fausto Severino said on Monday afternoon on a videoconference call. “Hopefully, it’s a good group and they bring some new, positive influx of talent to the organization.”

Despite being one of the younger players in the 2024 international class, Hurtado, 16, has long been on the radar of big league clubs due to his lean, athletic frame and on-field instincts.

The teen works out in the Dominican Republic with Jaime Ramos, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program.

Evaluators already see Hurtado as an advanced hitter, one who has the upside to be a significant offensive contributor over time. At 6-foot-4, there is ample room for Hurtado to continue to fill out as he matures. The left-handed hitter sports a smooth and compact swing, and he stays through the ball with good extension, leading to consistent contact.

In addition to his abilities on the field, Hurtado has been praised for his work ethic, baseball IQ and overall makeup.

“Hurtado’s got a sweet, left-handed stroke. He’s a very projectable frame,” Severino said. “... He did everything with ease, he’s somebody that you could dream of as far as upside. He’s somebody that we’re projecting to hit in the middle of the lineup when it’s all said and done, and somebody that can actually play the field. [He’s] a kid that works very hard, unbelievable makeup. And he’s a kid that carries himself with a lot of confidence, and we like that a lot about him.”

Feliz is a 6-foot-3 infielder with a large, lean athletic frame. The 17-year-old trains in the Dominican Republic with Raul “Banana” Valera.

There is room for Feliz to continue filling out physically, and he is expected to add strength as he matures and his body develops. He will also benefit from daily instruction at the Nationals’ academy.

Advanced bat speed and pull-side power are the tenets of Feliz’s offensive approach, as his swing stays long through the zone. Armed with a solid approach and good timing -- along with solid physical tools -- there is an expectation that Feliz could become an impactful contributor as he hones his game.

“Feliz is actually the same kind of body [as Hurtado], very projectable,” Severino said. “He’s got a very advanced approach at the plate, but he’s got the ability to hit for power. For being a big kid, he can really play shortstop. … The more I saw him play, he made all the plays -- routine and difficult plays. He’s got a strong arm. He’s somebody that’s a leader that’s got unbelievable makeup also, and comes from a program that’s very competitive that we’ve seen in different tournaments. He just carries himself with a lot of class.”

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.

That means players born between Sept. 1, 2006, and Aug. 31, 2007, will be eligible to sign in the current signing period. Players must be registered with Major League Baseball in advance to be eligible to sign.

The Nationals’ complete list of international free agents signed on Monday includes:

Signing scouts: Oscar Disla, Bolivar Pelletier, Modesto Ulloa, Riki Vasquez
Enmanuel Carela, RHP
Marlon De La Cruz, RHP
Angel Feliz, SS
Victor Hurtado, OF
Anyel Manzueta, RHP
Eddy Marmolejos, 3B
Anel Martinez, RHP
Franniel Reynoso, RHP
Jean Robles, RHP
Robert Santos, OF
Feldi Tavarez, C
Jhoan Thomas, RHP

Signing scout: Abraham Despradel
Arthur Paul, OF

Signing scouts: Salvador Donadelli, Juan Indriago, German Robles, Ronald Morillo
Rodrigo Garcia, C
Greyson Gimenez, RHP
Diego Hernandez, INF
Darrel Lunar, RHP
Angel Requena, INF
Alejandro Vera, LHP
Keiber Yepez, OF