Slugging 3B Herrera among White Sox announced international signees

January 24th, 2024

CHICAGO -- Eduardo Herrera once played at shortstop and was even viewed as a potential catcher as a 12- or 13-year-old player.

Now, at the advanced age of 17, the native of San Felipe, Venezuela, committed to the White Sox as a third baseman for $1.8 million. Herrera, this year's No. 11 international prospect according to MLB Pipeline, is among the four international free-agent signees announced by the club on Wednesday.

“When I saw him for the first time and I looked at the kid's body, his strength, the way he played the game, his ability to compete, how polished he was as a hitter, I couldn't help but be attracted by this kid's ability,” Marco Paddy, the White Sox special assistant to the general manager -- international operations, said of Herrera during a Zoom call. “From a makeup standpoint, he's a very good competitor, he knows how to work on his body, spends a lot of time working on his body, strength and physical conditioning and things of that nature.

“We had opportunities to see him play for the Venezuelan national team. He played in a tournament in Mexico against good competition and he did extremely well as a 15-year-old playing with 18-year-old kids. Once we got all the information together and the evaluations, the looks, the at-bats, the time on the ground with him and knowing him as a person, we decided to move forward -- and we're happy to have this young man become part of the Chicago White Sox organization.”

Herrera became the highest-rated non-Cuban international signing in White Sox history, per MLB Pipeline, surpassing Dominican outfielder Micker Adolfo ($1.6 million in 2013).

“Once again, he's showing us every bit of being a player that we felt good about at that number,” Paddy said. “We did not hesitate to go after him aggressively when it came to having the opportunity to sign him.

“In comparison to other guys we've signed in the past, most of the time when you get a guy that's a power guy, you always question his full ability as a hitter. But in the case of this young man, he has shown the ability to recognize, adjust. And once again, he was facing competition that was three years older than he was at the time. So, we had no doubt about his ability as a hitter.”

The White Sox also agreed to terms with third baseman Jurdrick Profar ($600,000), infielder Jesús Premoli ($550,000) and right-handed pitcher Jeziel Boekhoudt ($55,000). The 17-year-old Premoli is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound left-handed-hitting former catcher who now plays third and first base. He is a native of Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

Boekhoudt, 17, is a 6-foot, 175-pound native of Willemstad, Curaçao.

Profar, 16, is the brother of current Major Leaguer Jurickson Profar. Paddy believes the native of Willemstad, Curaçao, profiles differently than his brother. At 6 feet and 190 pounds, Jurdrick could become a bigger and stronger kid who reminds Paddy of Jonathan Schoop.

“If you look at this guy hitting, it’s simple,” Paddy said. “He has played in many international competitions. Profar probably spent more time in the Dominican Republic than he did in Curacao over the last couple of years. We had a chance to see him there, see him in competition in Mexico three years ago.

“If you look at his approach, it’s simple, it’s easy. Those things don’t change in a player. Once he shows you that, as a 15- or 16-year-old kid, those things won’t change. They come naturally to him.”

Additional international signings are expected for the White Sox in coming weeks. Herrera and the other three signees will begin their careers with the DSL White Sox in the Dominican Republic.

“These kids are in professional baseball for the first time,” Paddy said. “Their performance there and how quickly they adjust to the game and everyday professional baseball, that will determine how quickly they move. Nevertheless, it’s still a 17-year-old kid who just turned 17 recently. He’s going to play his entire year at 17.”