Rays to add two of top-ranked int'l prospects

January 16th, 2021

The Rays have consistently been among the most aggressive teams on the international market, and that’s part of the reason they landed Wander Franco, the top prospect in baseball, out of the Dominican Republic back in 2017.

They are hoping for similar success in this year’s class.

According to industry sources, the club has agreed to a deal with Venezuelan shortstop Carlos Colmenarez, No. 4 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 International Prospects List, for $3 million and outfielder Jhonny Piron, No. 17, of the Dominican Republic for $1.825 million.

Though Colmenarez and Piron were the headlines, the Rays continued their international efforts by agreeing to terms with 10 international free agents on Friday. Five of the prospects were from the Dominican Republic and the other five are from Venezuela.

Colmenarez shows solid mechanics at the plate with a slight upcut stroke that allows him to generate some loft and hit the ball out of the ballpark. He shows good bat speed and the ability to drive the ball to all fields in games. He’ll add more power as his body matures. On defense, he shows soft hands, good body control and projects to have an above-average arm. Colmenarez has the potential to be an above-average defender.

As for Piron, he shows solid swing mechanics and the ability to hit for extra bases by spraying line drives across the outfield. He shows average power to all fields and is on track for plus power in the future. On defense, Piron has the tools to keep him in center field and moves well in all directions. He has a chance to have an above-average arm.

According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft -- like the Rays -- have the most money to spend on international prospects, with a pool of $6,431,000. Clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive the second most at $5,889,600.

Unlike in previous years, 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’s the complete list of the signees:

Gabriel Arias, SS, Dominican Republic
Luis Ariza, SS, Venezuela
Carlos Colmenarez, SS, Venezuela
Sebastian Javier, RHP, Dominican Republic
Humberto Jimenez, RHP, Venezuela
Jose Perez, SS, Venezuela
Jhonny Piron, OF, Dominican Republic
Jesus Quevedo, SS, Venezuela
Nathanael Rodriguez, SS, Dominican Republic
Kikito Severino, LHP, Dominican Republic