Guardians ink outfielder, catcher
There’s been a strong commitment to the international market in Cleveland under its current leadership and the club is once again proving to be among the most aggressive teams in the space.
According to industry sources, the Guardians signed outfielder Jaison Chourio, No. 20 on MLB.com’s Top 50 International Prospects list to a $1.2 million deal, and catcher Victor Izturis, who ranks No. 40, for $1.15 million.
Cleveland has a bonus pool of $6,262,600.
Chourio and Izturis were among 15 international signings announced by the Guardians on Saturday.
“We’re incredibly excited to welcome these players to our organization and equally eager to begin partnering with them as they embark on their professional careers,” said Paul Gillispie, the club’s senior vice president of scouting. “The opening of the signing period is a special day for these players, their families and trainers. It’s also a moment to recognize the diligent work of so many people across the organization, especially our scouting staff members, who have gotten to know these players well, both on and off the field.”
Chourio, a 16-year-old switch-hitter from Venezuela, will very likely stay in center field because of his skill set. The lean and wiry athlete projects to be an above-average runner and have a plus arm. He takes efficient routes in the outfield and gets good jumps on balls hit into the gaps. At the plate, he continues to develop, and like many prospects his age, he is working on his plate discipline and pitch recognition.
Overall, he’s a solid blend of tools and projection.
The nephew of former Major League infielders Cesar and Maicer Izturis, Victor is advanced for his age and has a high baseball IQ.
At the plate, the 16-year-old catcher shows a solid approach and superior instincts in the batter’s box. His barrel awareness is especially noteworthy as well as his recognition of pitches he can hit in the strike zone. He’s a contact hitter with some pop.
On defense, he shows soft hands and developing arm strength with a chance to be an overall above-average catcher in the future.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association finalized a deal in March 2020 that addressed the international signing period during the pandemic. The 2022 international signing period runs through Dec. 15, 2022, the second year in a row the period, which previously began July 2, started in January.
The current rules also state that teams are not allowed to trade any of their international pool money. 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.
Here are the prospects who have agreed to deals with the Guardians in the 2022 international signing period:
Jaison Chourio, CF, Venezuela -- $1,200,000
Victor Izturis, C, Venezuela -- $1,150,000
Rafael Ramirez, SS, United States -- $800,000
Yanki Jean-Baptiste, SS, Dominican Republic -- $750,000
Yorfran John, SS, Venezuela -- $425,000
Alberto Mendez, SS, Venezuela -- $320,000
Moises Molero, CF, Venezuela -- $270,000
Nomar Velasquez, SS, Venezuela -- $250,000
Pedro Hernandez, SS, Panama -- $125,000
Brayan Guedez, SS, Venezuela -- $115,000
Jose Cedeno, C, Venezuela -- $100,000
Jeffrey Mercedes, SS, Dominican Republic -- $60,000
Gueile Borrome, SS, Venezuela -- $60,000
Abrahan Tejada, RHS, Dominican Republic -- $45,000
Melkis Hernandez, LHS, Dominican Republic -- $20,000
Jose Gomez, CF, Dominican Republic -- $10,000