Venezuelan OF Cova highlights Marlins' international class

January 15th, 2024

The Marlins added one of the best pure athletes in this year’s international market to their organization as part of a 21-player class of 2024, the team announced Monday.

The headliner is outfielder Luis Cova,’s No. 21 international prospect, who signed for a $1.4 million bonus, a source told

The team also agreed to terms with Dominican outfielder Jose Castro, Dominican right-hander Jose Paulino and Mexican catcher Kevin Robledo. Castro’s deal is the largest of that group, coming in at $450,000, according to a source.

The Marlins received a signing pool of $6.52 million.

“I've done quite a few of these over my career and it never gets old,” said assistant general manager Oz Ocampo. “I told our international staff this morning that I was just very thankful for all their efforts to get to this day. It requires a lot of work to get to this point. And though we understand that this is the first step and only the first step, our staff has done everything possible to ensure that our new players start off on the right foot.”

A muscular former infielder, Cova was initially showcased as a shortstop but didn’t separate from the pack. He made the move to the outfield and emerged as a more impressive prospect, with a double-plus run tool, real center field capabilities and advanced makeup.

Despite being relatively new to the outfield, Cova takes good routes to fly balls and has shown solid range while patrolling center. Overall, he sees the ball well, has good instincts and features emerging arm strength. Scouts tabbed him as a quick study and rave about his awareness. Now that Cova is affiliated with Miami, he’ll be able to use the club’s resources to enhance his already bright potential.

At the plate, he is quick to the ball and although there is an unorthodox hand load, it works well and produces hard-hit balls. He’s a mature and serious-minded prospect. Cova trains in Venezuela with Francisco Ortiz, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program.

“As he’s continued to develop, he’s gotten even more athletic and even faster,” Ocampo said. “When [scouts] saw him in the outfield, that's when they really started to see [potential]. And as they started to see him move in the outfield, they saw that he had a natural feel in the outfield. His jumps, his routes and ability to close in on balls was really good.”

Castro is a long-limbed corner outfielder with raw explosive power, and he has a rare combination of size, strength, looseness and pliability.

Paulino is a classic durable-bodied physical power righty, with stuff that’s flashed as high as 97 mph.

Robledo is another converted infielder and now an athletic and fluid catcher with plus bat speed and above-average defensive actions behind the dish. He’s drawn comps to Javy Báez for his bat-to-ball skills and natural rhythm and timing at the plate.

“He has a unique ability to time the baseball, and he has the ability to take very good at-bats, and to make hard, consistent contact at a very young age, and to do it against very quality pitching,” Ocampo said.

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.

That means players born between Sept. 1, 2006, and Aug. 31, 2007, will be eligible to sign in the current signing period. Players must be registered with Major League Baseball in advance to be eligible to sign.

Here is the full class Miami announced on signing day:

Gregori Arias, SS, Dominican Republic
Jose Castro, OF, Dominican Republic
Luis Cova, OF, Venezuela
Alex Cruz, 1B/OF, Dominican Republic
Alejandro De La Cruz, RHP, Dominican Republic
Kifraidy Encarnacion, LHP, Dominican Republic
Estarlin Francisco, RHP, Dominican Republic
Angel Garcia, RHP, Dominican Republic
Erick Gutierrez, LHP, Dominican Republic
Abraham Hernandez, LHP, Venezuela
Yordani Martinez, 2B, Dominican Republic
Gerinton Mendez, RHP, Dominican Republic
Eiver Mosquera, RHP, Venezuela
Carlos Ochoa, RHP, Venezuela
Jose Paulino, RHP, Dominican Republic
Robert Puente, LHP, Dominican Republic
Kevin Robledo, C, Mexico
Maikel Rodriguez, RHP, Venezuela
Jonathan Rosario, LHP, Dominican Republic
Almen Tolentino, C, Dominican Republic
Jofreider Torrealba, RHP, Venezuela