The period in which Major League Baseball teams can sign international free agents opened Saturday. Amateur players can be acquired by MLB teams in one of two ways. Players born in the United States, Puerto Rico or Canada go through the draft. All other amateurs are available to be signed here in this international signing period.
My colleague Mike Axisa has a full primer for those interested.
Here are where the five biggest names signed on Saturday.
Roderick Arias – Yankees
The Dominican shortstop is only 17 years old, but he’s been on the radar of the international scouting community for years and is generally considered the top prospect in this class. He’s a switch-hitter with five-tool superstar potential. If there was a franchise player to be had here, it was Arias.
Oscar Colas – White Sox
While most prospects who sign during this period are teenagers, Colas is 23. He’s most notable for being called “the Cuban Ohtani” at one point, though he has since stopped pitching and focused on his outfield play and bat. He hit .302/.350/.519 in 66 games in Japan in 2019.
William Bergolla – Phillies
The 17-year-old shortstop is said to have a high baseball IQ and an excellent approach at the plate, including being known as a contact hitter.
Ricardo Cabrera – Reds
Another teenage shortstop, Cabrera might eventually have to move to third base, but that’s of no concern right now. He’s said to be arguably the best hitter in this entire class.
Cristhian Vaquero – Nationals
The Nationals are apparently very bullish on the left-handed outfielder, as they spent nearly all of their pool money on Vaquero. Baseball America ranked him as the top prospect in this class and we’ve seen the Nationals hit big on a lefty outfielder in the international signing period before in Juan Soto.