The Cleveland Indians today signed seven international amateur free agents for the 2017-18 signing period.Outfielder GEORGE VALERA (San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic) and shortstop AARON BRACHO (San Jose Guanipa, Venezuela) headlined the group, as announced by Indians Senior Director of International Scouting Paul Gillispie and Director of Latin American Scouting Koby Perez. Valera and Bracho, both
The Cleveland Indians today signed seven international amateur free agents for the 2017-18 signing period.
Outfielder GEORGE VALERA (San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic) and shortstop AARON BRACHO (San Jose Guanipa, Venezuela) headlined the group, as announced by Indians Senior Director of International Scouting Paul Gillispie and Director of Latin American Scouting Koby Perez. Valera and Bracho, both 16 years old, rank among the top hitters in Latin America, as Baseball America ranked them the No. 5 and No. 17 prospects, respectively, in this year's class.
"George and Aaron project as high-ceiling offensive players with a combination of hit-ability and power to go along with athleticism," Gillispie said. "We think they have the ability to impact the game both offensively and defensively."
The club's other signings include four infielders and an outfielder - three from the Dominican Republic and two from Venezuela.
"We're incredibly excited about this year's signing class, and we're looking forward to this group of players matriculating into our organization," said Gillispie. "Our scouts have worked diligently over the last calendar year to identify and intimately know these players and we're proud of the tireless effort they've put into the process."
The international signing period opens each year on July 2 and players are able to sign through June 15 of the subsequent year. These seven players signed contracts to begin their professional careers in the 2018 Minor League season.
AARON BRACHO, SS
AGE/DOB: 16, April 24, 2001 Hometown: Tigrito, VZ
BATS/THROWS: S/R HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-10/172
From Baseball America on Bracho:
Bracho is from Venezuela, but he spent a considerable amount of time last year working out in the United States, including a handful of Perfect Game showcases. Bracho has been one of the top offensive performers in games from the 2017 class. He has a polished approach and a smooth, sweet swing from both sides of the plate that's especially pretty from the left side. It's a pure, compact stroke with good bat speed and stays on plane through the hitting zone for a long time. Though Bracho isn't that big, he has strong legs and swings hard while staying balanced, showing surprising sock for his size. Bracho will probably always have a hit-over-power profile, but he could have average power. Though he's a shortstop for now and might get a chance to develop there in the minors, he probably won't stay there long. He is a slightly above-average runner and he has decent hands, but his footwork, first-step quickness and arm strength aren't ideal for shortstop. Most likely he flips across the diamond and develops into an offensive-minded second baseman.
CESAR IDROGO, INF
AGE/DOB: 16, March 26, 2001 Hometown: Maturin, VZ
BATS/THROWS: S/R HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-10/175
MARLIN MADE, OF
AGE/DOB: 16, April 16, 2001 Hometown: Bani, DR
BATS/THROWS: L/L HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-11/165
WILFRI PERALTA, INF
AGE/DOB: 16, Dec. 10, 2000 Hometown: Dajabon, DR
BATS/THROWS: L/R HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-00/151
BRAYAN ROCCHIO, INF
AGE/DOB: 16, Jan. 13, 2001 Hometown: Caracas, VZ
BATS/THROWS: S/R HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-10/149
JOSE TENA, INF
AGE/DOB: 16, March 20, 2001 Hometown: San Cristobal, DR
BATS/THROWS: L/R HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-09/159
GEORGE VALERA, OF
AGE/DOB: 16, Nov. 13, 2000 Hometown: San Pedro de Macoris, DR
BATS/THROWS: L/L HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-11/184
From Baseball America on Valera:
Two years ago, Juan Soto was a lefthanded Dominican outfielder who established himself as one of the best hitters in the 2015 class after performing at a high level in the Dominican Prospect League. This year, Valera is another lefthanded outfielder who has played in the DPL and separated himself as a premium hitter, showing the ability to hit, draw walks and drive the ball for power in games. Valera, though, was born and raised in New York and speaks English fluently. At age 13, Valera moved to San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic with his parents and has been training with Alfredo Arias.
Valera has a beautiful swing. His hitting mannerisms in the way he sets up and rocks his hands back look like Robinson Cano, with a loose, relaxed, rhythmic stroke. It's a compact, handsy swing with great bat path, whipping the barrel into the hitting zone quickly and staying on plane through the hitting zone for a long time. He has an innate feel for the barrel with good plate coverage. Valera's pitch recognition skills help him square up all types of pitches, and his strike-zone discipline is among the best in the class, which should make him a high OBP hitter. Valera isn't as physical as some of the other outfielders in the class, but he combines a high contact rate with the ability to hit for power, flashing above-average pop in BP and the ability to translate it in games. Valera is a corner outfielder with fringe-average speed at best and will likely slow down. He has an average arm that could allow him to play right field and has solid defensive instincts for his age, though what he does at the plate will drive his value.