Nats agree to deal with No. 2 int'l prospect

January 17th, 2022

The Nationals have added another talented young outfielder to their system.

The club announced on Saturday that it has agreed to a deal with 17-year-old Cristhian Vaquero, No. 2 on the Top 50 International Prospects list. Industry sources told the deal was for $4,925,000.

The Nationals have a base signing pool of $5,179,700.

One of the most dynamic international prospects on the market, Vaquero -- who is nicknamed "The Phenomenon" -- is also one of the most athletic.

Originally a left-handed hitter, the outfielder learned to switch-hit when he left Cuba, which has resulted in improved pitch recognition and more confidence at the plate. At 6-foot-3 and close to 190 pounds, he is a physical specimen with tons of raw strength and power. He can really cover ground in center field, shows a strong arm and has a chance to be a plus defender at the position. He plays hard with lots of energy and shows tons of natural instinct in practice and in games.

Vaquero was one of 10 international free agents with whom the Nats agreed to deals on Saturday. The others are Marlon Perez, LHP (Cuba); Jeremy Bautista, C (D.R.); Albert Casado, INF (D.R); Ramon Cuevas, RHP (D.R.), Misael Mojica, INF (D.R.); Miguel Moreno, RHP (D.R.); Jorgelys Mota, SS (D.R.); Helder Rosario, C (D.R.); and Camilo Sanchez, RHP (Panama).

Some notes on the prospects from the 2022 International Class:

● Four bat left-handed: Casado, Mojica, Perez and Vaquero (switch-hitter).

● The youngest are 16-year-olds Rosario (Jan. 26, 2005) and Mota (June 3, 2005), born the year the Nationals relocated to Washington.

● The oldest player signed is Perez, 21, born on March 16, 2000.

● The signing scouts for this group are Johnny DiPuglia (Vaquero), Modesto Ulloa (Perez), Abraham Despradel (Bautista), Bolivar Pelletier (Casado, Rosario), Virgilio De Leon (Cuevas, Moreno, Mota), Riki Vasquez (Mojica) and Miguel Ruiz (Sanchez).

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, starts 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 inked by the Nationals during the international signing period:

Cristhian Vaquero, OF, Cuba -- $4,925,000
Jorgelys Mota, SS, Dominican Republic -- $250,000
Albert Casado, IF, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Misael Mojica, IF, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Helder Rosario, C, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Jeremy Bautista, C, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Ramon Cuevas, RHS, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Miguel Moreno, RHS, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Marlon Perez, LHS, Cuba -- $10,000
Camilo Sanchez, RHS, Panama -- $10,000