DENVER -- The Astros agreed to terms Tuesday with 13 international prospects, including shortstop Dauri Lorenzo, No. 14 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 International Prospects list, for $1.8 million, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reported.
The Astros, who didn’t announce signing bonuses, came to terms with nine players from the Dominican Republic, three from Venezuela and one from the Bahamas -- the organization’s first acquisition of a Bahamian player in more than 50 years. Tuesday marked the beginning of the July 2 international signing period.
“We are very excited about today’s signings,” said Eve Rosenbaum, the Astros’ manager of international scouting. “From the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, we have a strong pitching and catching class, as well as a talented group of infielders and outfielders. … It is a tremendous effort by both the scouts and the front office to put together an international signing class, and we look forward to adding to our class during the rest of the period.”
Lorenzo, who is from the Dominican Republic, is an appealing prospect. He uses an upright stance with a short stride and a loose, line-drive stroke to make hard, consistent contact to all fields. His quick hands and bat speed generate some power, and the belief is that he will develop even more. Scouts love the way he has a knack for barreling up balls and how the ball flies off his bat.
On defense, Lorenzo shows good instincts with a live and accurate arm. He has sound defensive actions, and his footwork continues to improve. An above-average runner, he’s a confident player with a strong mental approach.
“Dauri Lorenzo is an athletic and projectable 16-year-old switch-hitter,” said Roman Ocumarez, Astros assistant director of international scouting. “He has a smooth, compact swing with a great ability to hit and solid defense. We had the chance to see him several times, and he always stood out for his hitting ability. Lorenzo also has great makeup and attitude on and off the field. We are very happy to acquire him.”
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 international prospects, while clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive $5,939,800.
The Astros 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
The other players signed by the Astros are catcher Fernando Caldera (Venezuela, $350,000 bonus), outfielder Everett Cooper (Bahamas, $325,000), outfielder Denfry De La Cruz (Dominican), infielder Luis Encarnacion (Dominican), right-hander Elvis Garcia (Venezuela), outfielder Richi Gonzalez (Dominican, $310,000), infielder Danyuri Guzman (Dominican), right-hander Eurys Martich (Dominican), outfielder Christopher Morales (Dominican), infielder Josue Payano (Dominican), outfielder Luis Perez (Dominican) and catcher Juan Santander (Venezuela, $700,000).