White Sox make international splash
Reyes, Tatis Jr., Nova and Vasquez sign with club
SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC -- The White Sox introduced the future Thursday, unveiling four Dominican prospects during the first day of the international signing period.
The jewel of the group is outfielder Franklin Reyes, 16, a resident of Bani, in southeast Dominican Republic. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Reyes is a nephew of former White Sox and 2005 World Series star Juan Uribe, who is now with the Atlanta Braves.
"It's a dream come true for me," said Reyes. "I've been working hard to reach this goal in my life, and now I know that I have to continue with the good work, because this is just the beginning of my real dream, to reach the Big Leagues."
Reyes, who received a $1.5 million bonus, was rated by MLB.com as No. 30 among international prospects this year. He is an impressive physical prospect with raw power and arm strength, according the scouts who evaluated him.
Along with Reyes, the White Sox also signed Fernando Tatis Jr., 16, an infielder who can play third base and shortstop. He is the eldest son of former Major Leaguer Fernando Tatis, who played 11 seasons in the big leagues.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Tatis is a teenager with great athleticism, good bat speed and power.
"I know that I have a big challenge ahead of me, and a big responsibility because of my last name," said Tatis, who was ranked by MLB.com as the No. 27 international prospect. "I have always been a big fan of my dad, and he helped me a lot to be here reaching the first level of my dream."
For the elder Tatis, his son could be a better player than he was.
"He has, by far, a better talent than me. If he works hard and keeps his mind in the right direction, he is going to be very good," said Tatis Sr., who hit .298 with 31 doubles, 34 home runs and drove in 107 runs with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1999.
Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager, and Marco Paddy, special assistant to the general manager, international operations, attended the press conference introducing the team's new prospects at The Radisson Hotel Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.
"These young men not only have impressive abilities," Hahn said. "They also are incredible individuals off the field, as well. For our organization, it is very important to have and receive these type of persons in our White Sox family. These investments in the Dominican Republic, as well in Latin America, are a sign of the importance of this market for us."
The White Sox also signed Brayant Nova, 16, a 6-foot-1, 170-pound switch-hitter infielder who also is from Bani.
"This is the best moment of my life," Nova said. "I have to give thanks to God, to my trainers and my parents because all of them helped me to reach my dream. Since I was 5 years old, I've been dreaming of this moment. This is a dream come true, and I know that now I have to work even harder to reach the big leagues."
The organization ended its first day of the international signing period by adding shortstop Santo Vasquez, 16, a 6-foot, 170-pound shortstop from Guayacanal, Azua, Dominican Republic.
"I've always been a big fan of Jose Reyes," Vasquez said. "I like Reyes' style, his spark and the way that he plays. I want to be like him, and I think that I can do it. I feel proud to be a member of the White Sox family. I know that they are a very good organization."