Rays to land No. 18 international prospect

January 15th, 2024

The Rays made a splash in the international market by agreeing to terms with Leonardo Pineda, MLB.com’s No. 18 international prospect, as the 2024 signing period opened Monday.

The deal is worth $1.8 million, according to industry sources. Tampa Bay, which received a pool of $6.52 million, has not yet confirmed the agreement.

In total, the Rays agreed to terms with 23 players on Monday -- 11 from the Dominican Republic, 11 from Venezuela and one from Panama. Here are the top nine bonuses, per a source, of this class: 

Leonardo Pineda, OF, D.R. -- $1.75 million
Angel Brachi, SS, Venezeula -- $800,000
Aaron Pinero, SS, Venezuela -- $450,000
Deinys Gonzalez, C, Venezuela -- $440,000
Carlos Matias, CF, D.R. -- $425,000
Domingo Batista, SS, D.R. -- $425,000
Israfell Bautista, SS, D.R. -- $400,000
Sebastian Perez, RHP, D.R. -- $310,000
Andreimi Antunez, SS, Venezuela -- $300,000

Pineda plays with one objective in mind -- to be the best. The hard-hitting outfielder has shown lots of potential on both sides of the ball and is determined to improve in both areas. He has plus speed potential and uses it to his advantage in the outfield -- where he patrols center -- as well as on the basepaths.

As a defender, scouts have noted Pineda’s impressive reaction times and ability to read balls well. His instincts enable him to get good jumps. The teen projects to stick in center, though he should translate well to the corner outfield spots if needed. He has the speed to cover ample ground in the outfield.

At the plate, he has an easy, repeatable swing, and scouts have described his hitting mechanics as effortless. Pineda has shown good bat speed and the ability to hit the ball out of the park to all fields. The ball leaps off his bat and he has a good recognition of the strike zone. He has also been praised for his makeup and work ethic.

Pineda trains with Jose Serra in the Dominican Republic.

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.