A trio of international prospect showcases held Friday morning in the Dominican Republic gained extra significance when Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani chose to sign with the Angels on Friday afternoon.Cuban outfield prospect Julio Pablo Martinez, who began the day with an impressive morning showcase in front of 180 scouts from
A trio of international prospect showcases held Friday morning in the Dominican Republic gained extra significance when Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani chose to sign with the Angels on Friday afternoon.
Cuban outfield prospect Julio Pablo Martinez, who began the day with an impressive morning showcase in front of 180 scouts from almost every team at the Dodgers' complex in Guerra, could now be a primary target for teams that missed out on Ohtani.
The Rangers, who were also in the mix for Ohtani and present at the Martinez showcase, still have $3.535 million to spend on international prospects during the current period. The Yankees, who also have more than $3 million to spend, also had a large contingent at the Martinez workout.
• Complete list of where former Braves prospects are signing
Martinez could be an interesting option for the Mariners ($3.557 million), who were also pursuing Ohtani.
During the showcase, the outfielder put on a show by hitting several deep home runs over the center-field wall during batting practice. He also completed the 60-yard run in 6.3 seconds and was clocked going from home plate to first base in 3.75 seconds.
Overall, Martinez, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound 21-year-old with power and speed, profiles as a center fielder and a leadoff hitter. He has been among Cuba's top young players, earning spots on Cuba's 18U junior team in 2014 and '15. He established residency in Haiti and is petitioning for free agency. Because of his age, he will be subject to international bonus pool rules.
• Top 30 international prospects
Martinez was expected to sign during the international signing period that begins July 2, 2018, but after several teams accrued more money in pursuit of Ohtani, the Cuban outfielder could be inclined to sign during the current period that ends June 15, 2018, once he becomes eligible.
The Marlins are expected to make a strong push for Martinez if he waits until the next period to sign.
The second major showcase of the day began shortly after Martinez's ended when former Braves prospect Yunior Severino took the field at the Giants' complex in Boca Chica. Severino, who was one of the 12 Atlanta prospects granted free agency when an MLB investigation determined Atlanta circumvented the international signing guidelines last month, took batting practice and fielded ground balls in front of many of the same scouts that attended Martinez's workout. The switch hitter showed power from both sides of the plate.
He later agreed to a $2.5 million deal with the Twins.
Several of the former Atlanta prospects have already signed with new teams and can sign during a special signing period that started Dec. 5 and ends on Jan. 15, 2018, at 5 p.m. ET. If a player hasn't signed by Jan. 15, he is ineligible to receive a signing bonus from any club. If a player hasn't signed by May 1, 2018, he has the option of re-signing with the Braves, albeit with no bonus.
Teams also have the option of counting the bonus toward the current (2017-18) signing period or the following (2018-19) one, though teams can't combine pool money.
Cuban third base/outfield prospect Malcom Nunez, 16, also displayed his talent during the Severino showcase. Nunez, who starred in Cuba's junior leagues and the club's 15-and-under national teams, fared well, particularly against live pitching. He is eligible to sign under international signing guidelines and could also be an option for teams that missed out on Ohtani.
The showcase for Oscar Luis Marten Nunez, 19, began at Patrick Guerrero's field in the Villa Mella section of Santo Domingo an hour after Severino's showcase ended. Nunez, who plays third base and outfield, worked out in front of 15 teams. The 6-foot, 195-pound prospect finished the 60-yard run in 6.5 seconds during the showcase. He is a free agent and eligible to sign with a Major League team.
Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.