Marlins to sign big int'l class, starting with SS

January 18th, 2022

MIAMI -- The Marlins are expected to sign close to 40 international prospects, and they opened Saturday's international signing period by adding a talented shortstop from the Dominican Republic. Yoffry Solano, No. 44 on’s Top 50 International Prospects list, agreed to a $750,000 deal, according to industry sources. The Marlins, who have $5,721,500 in bonus pool money, did not confirm the figure, though they did confirm that a deal was made.

Solano, who is from Nizao, Dominican Republic, began playing baseball at age 7. He would watch videos of Vladimir Guerrero, aspiring to follow in his footsteps. These days, he admires Didi Gregorius and Jazz Chisholm Jr.

"Hopefully I can be that next Hall of Famer, Dominican Hall of Famer," Solano said via an interpreter. "I want to help my family, help my people from my town, and every time I was going to a tryout, I was giving it all every day trying to prove. And that's what I was looking for, just to improve every day, just to be able to make it to a team and make it to the Major League level."

The 17-year-old projects to be an everyday shortstop because of his defensive skills and hitting ability. Physically, he’s athletic and wiry (5-foot-10, 155 pounds), with tons of projection and room to add weight and strength. Offensively, the switch-hitting teen shows a solid approach from both sides of the plate, an advanced awareness of the strike zone and efficient bat-to-ball skills. He also has a chance to be an above-average runner.

During his Zoom call, Solano called his bat his best tool. A natural righty, he took up switch-hitting at MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program with Raúl “Banana” Valera at the Banana Baseball Academy. On defense, Solano displays advanced instincts and polish for a player his age -- though he admitted that part of his game will receive more attention. He features emerging arm strength and solid footwork that consistently puts him in a position to make plays.

"It was a team that was following me the most, constantly the way they were looking at me," Solano said of the Marlins. "I was very interested in that team. My goal was to be better every time they came and watched me play. I was trying to prove that every day, and also just want to be with a team, the Miami Marlins."

Senior director of international operations Adrian Lorenzo, whose promotion was announced earlier this week, heads the department after Fernando Seguignol decided not to take a reassignment in the fall. Rather than allocate the majority of their international pool to one player, the Marlins have decided to cast a wide net.

On Saturday, the Marlins agreed with more than 10 players from the Dominican Republic, including Solano, outfielder Antony Peguero and pitchers Jhon Cabral, Alfonso Suriel and Erinson Reyes. More signings are expected to be announced in the coming days and weeks.

"I see myself as a Kevin Pillar in the future," Peguero said via an interpreter.

Last year, the Marlins inked 11 players to open the period, including Cuban infielder Yiddi Cappe to a deal worth $3.5 million. Cappe, who ranks No. 15 in the organization's farm system and was MLB Pipeline's 10th overall international prospect, began his pro career in 2021 at the Dominican Summer League.

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.