The rundown on the newest crop of Nats talent

January 17th, 2023

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

had returned to the visitors’ clubhouse at Coors Field following a lengthy sitdown interview in the dugout, only to run back out a few minutes later with one more thing to note. It was late September 2021 and most of the conversation had been about his emerging leadership role, but the last few minutes were spent talking about his younger brother, Elian, who was 15 years old at the time.

Soto appeared with his phone in his hand and a smile on his face. He had just received a video of Elian hitting for power and wanted to show his brother’s skills. The sibling pride was evident.

“He said he wanted to be a baseball player,” Soto said at the time. “So I told him, ‘You’ve got to work hard. It’s not easy. I know it looks easy now because I made it all the way, but it’s not easy. You’ve got to play hard, you’ve got to compete against the guys that are really good. They can have more talent than you, but you’ve got to work harder than them, so just keep grinding.’”

Before the interview concluded, Soto noted, “I hope he can get with a team one day.”

On Sunday, Elian -- a lefty-hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic -- was among 14 international free agents who signed with the Nationals on the first day of the 2023 international signing period. The others are Agustin Marcano, C (Colombia); Andy Acevedo, OF (D.R.); Carlos Batista, CF (D.R.); Manuel Cabrera, SS (D.R.); Jose Feliz, RHP (D.R.); Eikel Joaquin, INF (D.R.); Hector Liriano, OF (D.R.); Juan Obispo, CF (D.R.); Leuris Portorreal, RHP (D.R.); Edwin Solano, SS (D.R.); Carlos Tavares, OF (D.R.); Juan Reyes, LHP (Panama); and Enyerber Rivero, RHP (Venezuela).

This group includes a trio from the international Top 50 Prospects list: Cabrera (No. 39), Acevedo (No. 45) and Solano (No. 46). Washington had a base signing pool of $5,284,000.’s Jesse Sanchez reported, per industry sources, the Nationals agreed to $1.2 million deals with Acevedo and Solano and a $500,000 deal with Cabrera.

Here are five additional notes on the prospects from the 2023 international class.

• The youngest prospect signed is 16-year-old Marcano, born June 28, 2006. The oldest player signed is 17-year-old Reyes, born March 20, 2005. (The age requirements are that a player must turn 16 before he signs and be 17 before Sept. 1 of the following year.)

• Five prospects bat lefty: Acevedo, Liriano, Soto, Tavares and Reyes.

• The scouting grades for the Top 50-ranked prospects are:
Acevedo -- Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Cabrera -- Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Solano -- Hit: 50 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50

• The signing scouts for this group are Virgilio De Leon (Joaquin), Juan Indriago (Rivero), Bolivar Pelletier (Acevedo, Batista, Cabrera, Feliz, Obispo, Soto and Tavares), Alex Rodriguez (Portorreal), Miguel Ruiz (Marcano and Reyes) and Modesto Ulloa (Liriano and Solano).

• Elian Soto is not the only brother of a Major League star to sign as an international free agent on Sunday. The Rangers signed Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s younger brother, Pablo.

For Jesse Sanchez’s complete recap of international signing day, read more here.