Padres ink two int'l shortstops, righty

January 15th, 2022

The Padres boast another strong international class, which includes three of the top prospects available.

On Saturday, the club announced that it has signed the following players: shortstop Yendry Rojas, No. 24 on’s Top 50 International Prospects list; right-handed pitcher Jarlin Susana, No. 31; and shortstop Rosman Verdugo, No. 47.

According to industry sources, the deals are worth $1.3 million for Rojas, $1.7 million for Susana and $700,000 for Verdugo. The club has not confirmed those figures. San Diego has a total bonus pool of $6,262,600.

"It's a very emotional day," said Padres scouting director Chris Kemp. "It's a very exciting day for our organization, an exciting day for our farm system, exciting day for our city. ... You're looking at a powerhouse starter in Susana, who's got a chance to be an elite-type arm. Then you look at Verdugo and Rojas, two very polished bats for their age group. We think all three have a chance to be plus -- plus makeup and plus talent."

Rojas is a muscular 6-foot-1, 190-pounder with tons of strength and lots of projection. He has a chance to be an impact bat and already shows emerging power. He continues to improve his plate discipline and pitch recognition. He’ll start his pro career as a shortstop, but he could make the shift to second or third base.

"It's a bat-first guy who's very versatile," Kemp said. "There's a chance for five tools. He can steal bases. He can play all over the dirt, even center field if you need him to. The one thing that stood out was just his quality of game at-bats. He's going to take his walks; he's going to swing at strikes."

The Ciego de Avila, Cuba, native’s older brother Kendry Rojas, also a shortstop, signed with the Blue Jays in October 2020.

At a sturdy 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, Susana already has the look of a Major League starter. The right-hander’s fastball is consistently clocked in the 94- to 97-mph range. He also throws a slider, which runs 84-87 mph, and a power changeup with late sink that sits in the 86-mph range. He also throws a curveball which clocks in the low 80s.

"We were in to see him, and he came out throwing smoke and getting after it," said international scouting supervisor Trevor Schumm. "We saw him up to 94-96 [mph], flashing a very good breaking ball and feel for a changeup with hard sink on the changeup. It was eye-popping. We felt like we had to do something, so we moved on it, and we're very happy that we got him."

Verdugo, the No. 1 overall player from Mexico, is the top hitter in the country and one of the best overall bats in the class. At the plate, he shows an advanced approach and feel for the strike zone. He’s a contact hitter who has developed gap power. On defense, he shows an average arm and an average glove.

"Very polished bat," Kemp said. "Excited to get him and Yendry together in our [Dominican Summer League] lineup. Would expect them to be hitting in the middle of the order."

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.

Here are the prospects who have agreed to deals with the Padres in the 2022 international signing period:

Jarlin Susana, RHS, Dominican Republic -- $1,700,000
Yendry Rojas, IF, Cuba -- $1,300,000
Maikol Munoz, IF, Venezuela -- $900,000
Rosman Verdugo, IF, Mexico -- $700,000
Oliver Cedeno, IF, Venezuela -- $500,000
Braian Salazar, LHS, Venezuela -- $500,000
Estuar Suero, OF, Dominican Republic -- $325,000
Alain Camou, IF, United States -- $100,000
Kashon Conliffe, OF, Bahamas -- $75,000
Eizon Delgado, OF, Cuba -- $30,000
Luis German, RHS, Dominican Republic -- $25,000
Juan Murillo, IF, Cuba -- $15,000
Nestor Chevalier, IF, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Rafael Nava, RHS, Mexico -- $10,000
Enmanuel Pinales, RHS, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Estiven Giron, C, Venezuela -- $10,000
Wilmer Ramirez, LHS, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Jhosep Chirinos, RHS, Venezuela -- $10,000
Josmar Acevedo, RHS, Venezuela -- $10,000
Francis Pena, RHS, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Xavier Ruiz, RHS, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Jefren Tejeda, LHS, Dominican Republic -- $10,000
Aldo Leija, RHS, Mexico -- $10,000
Christian Crespo, RHS, Mexico -- $10,000
Algel Garza, RHS, Mexico -- $10,000