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Nats sign int'l free agent Soto for $1.5 million

Club also agrees to terms with nephew of former Washington shortstop Guzman

The Nationals have agreed to terms with 16-year-old outfielder Juan Soto of the Dominican Republic on a $1.5 million signing bonus.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Soto, who is ranked No. 22 on's Top 30 International Prospects list, is considered one of the most dominant hitters and polished bats on the international market this year.

Washington also agreed to a deal with 16-year-old Dominican infielder Luis Aquino, who is the nephew of former Nationals shortstop Cristian Guzman.

In accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team is allotted a $700,000 base and a bonus pool with four slot values based on the team's record in 2014 for the international signing period, which started Thursday. Washington's overall pool total for this year's signing period is $1,985,400.

Considered "a gamer" in the scouting community, Soto has above-average offensive tools and a graceful swing. He is not known to have a ton of raw power, but he doesn't swing and miss often. Scouts also rave about his knack for barreling balls.

On defense, Soto has an average arm and good instincts. He would be in the competition for the overall top player in the class, but he is held back a bit by his running ability.

"Soto is a left-handed hitter with advanced feel for hitting and projection for power," said Nationals director of Latin American operations, Johnny DiPuglia. "He profiles as a corner outfielder with a solid arm and good instincts."

Aquino is a switch-hitter, who the Nationals believe can play both middle-infield positions.

"Aquino is a speedy, athletic middle infielder with the skills to hit at the top of the order," DiPuglia said.

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB.
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