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6-foot-7 teen leads Astros international signees

MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- The Astros on Monday agreed to terms on contracts with 26 international free agents, including 12 players from Venezuela, 10 from the Dominican Republic, two from Brazil, one from Mexico and one from the Netherlands.

Among signees is the Astros' first class of players from Brazil, including right-handed pitcher Heitor Tokar and Brazil's top hitter, third baseman/outfielder Victor Coutinho. Tokar, who stands 6-foot-7, has a fastball at 88-92 mph with a changeup, curveball and slider.

HOUSTON -- The Astros on Monday agreed to terms on contracts with 26 international free agents, including 12 players from Venezuela, 10 from the Dominican Republic, two from Brazil, one from Mexico and one from the Netherlands.

Among signees is the Astros' first class of players from Brazil, including right-handed pitcher Heitor Tokar and Brazil's top hitter, third baseman/outfielder Victor Coutinho. Tokar, who stands 6-foot-7, has a fastball at 88-92 mph with a changeup, curveball and slider.

"Heitor stands out for his physicality, power stuff and pitchability for a 16-year-old, and we project him as a power starter," said Astros director of international scouting Oz Ocampo.

Leading the 10 players the Astros signed out of the Dominican Republic is right-handed pitcher Jose Betances, who is a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder with a 91- to 95-mph fastball that generates swings and misses, and a hard "downer" slider at 81-84 mph.

"Both of those pitches project as plus, and with our development program, Betances should be a fast mover through our Minor League system," Ocampo said.

The Astros signed a strong group of young power/speed outfielders out of Venezuela, led by center fielders Yefri Carrillo and Wilyer Abreu, who's a left-handed hitter. Two standout pitchers signed out of Venezuela include right-handed pitcher Jairo Lopez and left-hander Ricardo Leon.

All 26 players will report to the Astros' complex in the Dominican Republic but will not appear in games until the 2018 calendar year.

Here's a list of all the signings and their bonuses:

Wilyer Abreu, OF, Venezuela, $300,000
Ricardo Leon, LHP, Venezuela, $300,000
Yefri Carrillo, OF, Venezuela, $300,000
Yimmi Cortabarria, OF, Venezuela, $300,000
Franklin Pinto, OF, Venezuela, $300,000
Heitor Tokar, RHP, Brazil, $300,000
Jose Betances, RHP, Dominican Republic, $285,000
Abraham Castillo, OF, Venezuela, $150,000
Victor Mascai, OF, Brazil, $100,000
Ernesto Jaquez, RHP, Dominican Republic, $95,000
Ricardo Toro, C, Venezuela, $95,000
Enmanuel Morillo, SS, Dominican Republic, $90,000
Carlos Hurtado, C, Venezuela, $80,000
Junior Marte, SS, Dominican Republic, $70,000
Alfredi Jimenez, RHP, Dominican Republic, $50,000
Manny Ramirez, RHP, Dominican Republic, $50,000
Cristofer Mezquita, LHP, Dominican Republic, $30,000
Luis Garcia, RHP, Venezuela, $20,000
Flaer Gonzalez, RHP, Dominican Republic, $20,000
Valente Bellozo, RHP, Mexico, $20,000
Oliver Van Der Wisjt, 3B, The Netherlands, $17,500
Alex Blanco, RHP, Dominican Republic, $10,000
Javier Bermudez, SS, Venezuela, $10,000
Hecduar Barcenas, RHP, Venezuela, $10,000
Victor Coutinho, INF/OF, Brazil
Diosmerky Taveras, RHP, Dominican Republic, $55,000

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

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