The Angels are adding a pair of elite shortstops to their farm system.
According to industry sources, the Angels have agreed to a deal worth $2 million with shortstop Arol Vera, No. 9 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 International Prospects list, and a deal with shortstop Adrian Placencia, No. 28, for $1.1 million. The Angels also agreed to a deal with shortstop Jose Bonilla for $600,000.
The club did not confirm the deals.
There’s a lot to like about both of these infielders.
Vera shows a nice rhythm at the plate with good barrel control and an understanding of the strike zone. He takes good at-bats from both sides because of his balanced approach.
He is a line-drive hitter now, but his power is developing as he continues to grow and get stronger. On defense, the teen shows good actions with natural instincts. There's a chance he stays at shortstop, but Vera could eventually outgrow the position. He has a future plus arm and has already displayed the ability to make accurate throws from all angles.
As for Placencia, he has shown good plate discipline and uses his hands well at the plate. He doesn’t have a ton of present power, but there is a chance it will come as he develops. What’s certain is that his advanced approach will likely result in a high on-base percentage. He makes hard contact from both sides of the plate.
There’s no guarantee that Placencia, who has an average arm, sticks at shortstop, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility either. He has soft hands and, as a result, plays with a grace that makes defense look easy at times.
According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft receive a pool of $6,481,200 for spending on international prospects, while clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive $5,939,800.
The Angels have a bonus pool of $5,398,300.
Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 60 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years of age and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.
Under the previous system, teams were penalized for exceeding their bonus pools with consequences that ranged from taxes on their spending to the maximum penalty, which was being prohibited from signing any prospect for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods. That’s no longer the case and there are no longer penalties. Teams can only spend their allotted bonus pools and the monies acquired via trade.