Guardians to add pair of top Dominican prospects (sources)

January 15th, 2023

The Guardians are adding a pair of coveted international prospects and continue to solidify their reputation as one of the most active and productive teams in the market.

According to industry sources, the club has agreed to deals with shortstop Welbyn Francisca, the No. 28 ranked prospect on the top 50 international list, and outfielder Yerlin Luis, who ranks No. 37.  The Guardians, who have a base signing pool of $5,825,500, have not confirmed the agreements, which are pending physicals.

Francisca shows advanced hitting abilities -- he has a chance to be a plus hitter -- and advanced run times. The switch-hitting teen out of the Dominican Republic has impressed scouts with plus instincts and great makeup. The twitchy athlete plays shortstop now, but he might be better suited for second base because of his skill set and average arm.

There’s a chance he will develop some power because of his bat speed. Speed will be a big part of his game, and he could develop into a base stealer in the future. He trains out of the HYL Baseball Academy. 

Luis could become a plus center fielder if he continues to develop at a normal pace. The teenager from the Dominican Republic has a medium frame and well-proportioned build with room to grow. At the plate, he features loose hands to the ball with some quickness. There’s a slight upstroke to his swing and good bat-to-ball skills that result in hard contact. 

Overall, Luis, who trains with Julio Angel Pina, is fundamentally sound with good mechanics in the batter’s box. The addition of strength could add value to his overall upside.

An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between Jan. 15 and Dec. 15. He must turn 16 before he signs and be 17 before Sept. 1 the following year -- in practical terms, that means players born between Sept. 1, 2005, and Aug. 31, 2006, will be eligible to sign in the upcoming signing period. Players have to be registered with Major League Baseball in advance in order to be eligible to sign.

Teams are allowed to trade international bonus pool money starting Jan. 15.