The Tigers have signed more than 60 prospects during the last two international signing periods and are once again making a big splash this time around.
:: 2018 International Signing Period ::
According to industry sources, the club agreed to a $1.8 million bonus with outfielder Jose De La Cruz, ranked No. 15 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, and it also has a deal with shortstop Adinso Reyes (No. 19) for $1.45 million.
The Tigers have confirmed the signing of Reyes, as well as that of fellow Dominican shortstops Angel Cruz and Geury Estevez. The latter two are unranked.
The busy first day reflected a combination of the Tigers' focus on player development and a larger international spending pool the last couple years.
"We're excited," Tigers international operations director Tom Moore said, "and we're continuing to be aggressive."
De La Cruz is considered a great overall package with lots of tools and has some of the best raw power in the class. The teen is very athletic with a strong and projectable body. His arm is strong enough to play the corner-outfield positions, but he'll likely start his professional career in center field.
Reyes already shows a good approach at the plate with decent power and a good hit tool. There's belief that the right-handed hitter will show more power with an improved swing and a focus on his overall hitting mechanics after signing. On defense, he shows good hands and a good arm, and there's a chance he will end up at third base because of his skill set and his body type at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds.
The preference, Moore said, is to keep Reyes at short.
"He's an athletic kid, and obviously as we've seen over the recent time in the big leagues, there are some physical shortstops," Moore said. "For us, the athleticism is what makes us think he's going to play at short. And we're really excited about the bat speed. He hits to all fields and with power to all fields."
Cruz is also 6-foot-1, but a bit more wiry at 165 pounds. The Tigers see him as a strong defensive shortstop with a controlled bat, line-drive power and good speed.
"Speed is definitely one of his tools," Moore said. "He's been on our radar. Our area scouts have been watching him for a year and a half."
The six-foot, 180-pound Estevez is a switch-hitter whom the Tigers project as a power hitter.
"He's been a kid that's really gotten stronger since watching him," Moore said, "and the power is starting to play out some."
According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the MLB Draft received a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Draft received $5,504,500. All other clubs, including the Tigers, received $4,983,500.
"The thing we're really excited about since the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is a more level playing ground with the signing pools," Moore said. "We're having signing pools we haven't had."
Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 75 percent of a team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least age 25 and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.