The 2023 International Free Agency (IFA) signing period begins today. Most of the players that will sign today have been committed for 2-3-4 years, and nobody knows just how successful the signings will be. Only one IFA signed in the AF era has made tit to MLB with the Dodgers, Miguel Vargas. This year, Miguel looks to become a regular in 2023 and break the spell. Andy Pages and Diego Cartaya should not be far behind. After that, we will need to wait and see.
- Of the 30 top prospects per 2022 MLB Pipeline, 12 are IFA.
- Prospects Live Top 30 for 2023 – 14 IFA,
- Baseball Prospectus Top 23 for 2023 – 9 IFA,
- FanGraphs Top 51 for 2023 – 24 IFA,
- Baseball America Top 10 for 2023 – 3 IFA.
Of the current 40 man roster, 7 are home grown IFA, while three others originally came from different organizations.
The 2022 class is well represented on top prospects (FanGraphs and Prospects Live). Josue De Paula seems to be the consensus 2022 IFA to follow (until he isn’t). Other 2022 IFA to watch include:
- Oswaldo Osorio (3B)
- Mairoshendrick Martinus (3B)
- Samuel Munoz (1B)
- Accimias Morales (RHP)
For 2023, the consensus top IFA is a 16 year old catcher from Venezuela, Ethan Salas. San Diego is expected to sign Salas. He is considered the best catching prospect in several years. He is also the brother of 19 year old SS Jose Salas, Miami’s #5 prospect.
MLB Pipeline generated their top 50 IFA list based on FV, while Baseball America created their top 40 list based on the amount the prospects are anticipated to sign for.
Not that it matters at this time, but Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, Detroit Tigers, New York Mets, and Washington Nationals are expected to sign three of the top prospects.
The Dodgers? They are expected to sign 17 year old top Dominican SS, Joendry Vargas. Vargas is ranked as the overall #3 IFA prospect. Below is the MLB Pipeline Scouting Report:
Joendry Vargas – SS
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 50 | Run: 50 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55
Vargas is literally one of the tallest international prospects in the class, and his five-tool potential might be even bigger.
At 6-foot-3, the long and lean teen will face questions about his ability to stay at shortstop, but he already shows a quick first step, good hands and plus instincts for the positio30n. He’ll stay in the middle of the infield for as long as he can, but his plus arm potential will serve him well if he transitions to third base in the future.
At the plate, he shows an advanced approach with the ability to hit for average. One of the top hitters in the class, he hits line drives to all fields and shows home run potential with a mechanically sound swing. Vargas expected to show more raw power and rack up extra-base hits as he fills out his frame. Overall, there is lots of offensive upside, which is particularly valuable at such a premium position. He’s also been praised for his makeup and work ethic.
Baseball America’s Scouting Report:
Vargas is a tall, lean, athletic shortstop who moves well going to his left or right. A slightly above-average runner, Vargas has good actions, soft hands and a strong arm for the position, with some scouts considering him one of the top defensive shortstops in the class. A former switch-hitter now hitting righthanded only, Vargas drives the ball with impact too, with a chance to grow into above-average raw power. There is some swing and miss to his game, so it’s a power-over-hit shape to his offensive profile, but if everything clicks he has a chance to develop into a power-hitting shortstop.
A second IFA prospect that the Dodgers are projected to sign is Dominican CF Arnaldo Lantigua. Lantigua is the #23 ranked IFA prospect by MLB Pipeline. Below is his MLB Pipeline Scouting Report:
Arnaldo Lantigua – OF (CF)
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 55 | Run: 50 | Arm: 50 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
The power-hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic is big and strong now, and more strength could be on the way.
Latingua’s ability to make consistent contact and hit for power stood out for most scouts, as he clocked exit velos over 100 mph in batting practice and games. If he continues to develop at a normal pace, he could turn into a middle-of-the order type of bat in the future because of his offensive prowess. But like most prospects his age, Lantigua can be overly aggressive in the batter’s box and needs to be more patient at the plate. He’s working on strike zone recognition and fine-tuning his approach.
Overall, he has a chance to stay in center field because of his speed and arm strength, but he also profiles as a right fielder for those same reasons. He’s a decent defender, but it is his hitting potential that has him in the spotlight.
One IFA not affiliated with any projected team is a RHP from Korea.
Jun-Seok Shim – RHP
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
The scouts that have seen Shim pitch make a case that he is the best arm in this year’s international class.
What’s not to like?
He throws a fastball that tops out at 100 mph and consistently sits in the 94-96 range. He features a true 12-6 curveball and shows good command of all of his pitches. What’s more, the big and strong-bodied Shim has been praised for his clean arm action and his athleticism.
It’s also worth noting that his slider and changeup are also emerging and could eventually develop into plus pitches in the future. He’s been compared to a young Chan Ho Park since his early teens because of his poise, makeup and fastball.
Kim is currently eligible to sign with a Major League team but will likely wait until the start of the next international signing period in January to sign.
Of course there will be multiple IFA signed by LAD, and we will learn more about them in the near future.
Good work Jeff, It is always interesting to see these guys come along and develop.
I didn’t understand how it was the Dodgers got such a high rating on international prospect drafting. So this morning I’ve been doing some reading under the search “Dodgers best international signings over the years”. The Athletic ranks our best signing recently to be Yordan Alvarez. Over the decades the top of the list includes Roberto Clemente, Pedro Martinez, Adrian Beltre, Fernando. Not a whole lot lately though. Maybe our ranking is sitting on the Alvarez signing. Not the $16 million Yadier Alvarez, the other one.
Will be interesting to see which, if any, teams emulate the Astros and start targeting older (relatively) international prospects
I have no way of knowing for sure, but I think the poll questions were relating to more current history than past history. That is why I also thought it more than curious for the Dodgers to be rated as high with International Prospects. Remember the poll question was:
“WHICH TEAM PLAYS THE INTERNATIONAL MARKET BETTER THAN ANY OTHER”
Admittedly, I am not sure what “Plays The International Market” actually means. But if you believe the Dodgers develop better than others, and you look at where they are now in international prospect talent level at the MiLB level, an argument can be made that they are developing international prospects in a similar fashion as draft picks. They also end up with a lot less bonus pool for the international signing period than other teams and yet their top prospect and arguably 3 or their top 6 or 7 are international. There is also a lot of depth in their international prospects as their is in their drafted players.
These are all current Dodger international prospects that are on top prospect lists for LAD. Most will certainly not get to MLB, but some will. Some could even become regulars at the ML level. Some may be used for trades for immediate needs.
· Diego Cartaya
· Miguel Vargas
· Andy Pages
· Jose Ramos
· Eddys Leonard
· Jorbit Vivas
· Carlos Duran
· Edgardo Henriquez
· Josue De Paula
· Jesus Galiz
· Wilman Diaz
· Rayne Doncon
· Oswaldo Osorio
· Mairoshendrick Martinus
· Samuel Munoz
· Accimias Morales
· Yeiner Fernandez
· Thayron Liranzo
· Maximo Martinez
· Luis Valdez
· Joel Ibarra
· Carlos De Los Santos
· Alvaro Benua
· Reynaldo Yean
· Nelson Quiroz
· Robinson Ortiz
That is a lot of international players that are on the radar of talent evaluators. They are doing something right.
Ok, that made sense. They play the hand they are dealt skillfully. We pay $16 million for Yadier and the Braves pay $100k for Acuna. Probably better examples. Hindsight is 20/10.
Anybody remember JT Ginn? Me either.
I do every time I watch Shane McClanahan pitch knowing that he should have been the LAD pick over JT Ginn. McClanahan went the very next pick, and signed for what Ginn was offered. I was so upset after that draft. As you can tell (and have stated my displeasure too many times here and over there) that I continue to be p*****.
Trey Mancini signed a two year deal with Chicago Cubs. $14MM with another $7MM available in bonus incentives based on plate appearances.
Good article on Freddie Freeman’s part in bringing Jason Heyward to LAD.
I said it at the time, I thought that this was a very good signing. A GG OF and an impeccable human being. It is the offseason, so I am pulling for Heyward to be the Comeback Player of the Year in 2023.
This is absolutely a no risk, high reward signing.
With absolutely no stats to back it up, I also felt this was going to be a good signing. Just a hunch I had.
But if it doesn’t work out, they haven’t lost anything by signing him.
He does have something to prove, so if there is anything at all left in the tank, we could be in for a nice surprise.
seems the 3 vets we’ve brought in, Heyward, JD Martinez, and Rojas, are all considered to be very good teammates?
That is important with JT gone, and many kids expected to join the team this year.
Hey Bobby. Good to see you again.
I was thinking about this yesterday. The Dodgers need good clubhouse guys, veterans to to show the kids how things are done. Ok. Does that mean Freeman, Betts, Smith, Barnes, Muncy, Roberts, Kershaw, Geren, Dino, Prior et al are not enough to lead a clubhouse?
If only Heyward could also catch some offense. He has a pathetic postseason history. I don’t want him taking at bats from Vargas or Outman.
I sure would like to retrieve Oneil Cruz.
That is going to be up to Outman and Vargas. Current LAD regime does not show a lot of patience with rookies.
If you take away his 2002 playoffs, Barry Bonds was abysmal in the playoffs.
Oneil Cruz was always well respected as a prospect by LAD. The Dodgers needed a high leverage setup reliever for the playoffs and Tony Watson was one of the best. It was going to cost to get him.
Cruz will not stay at SS. He is a poor defensive SS but has a plus plus plus arm. Pittsburgh has Ke’Bryan Hayes at 3B with a GG caliber glove. Cruz is a strikeout machine. Move him to a less taxing defensive position and let him concentrate on his hitting.
Have we signed Jo Vargas yet? What’s the hold up?
O’Neil Cruz. Nearly forgot about that guy. He’s not a good shortstop? I thought he was. Sure looks like he can hit the ball long way.
Joendry Vargas and Arnaldo Lantigua have both agreed to terms, pending physicals before the Dodgers announce. Vargas signed for $2.08MM out to the total LAD IFA pool of $4.144MM.
The Dodgers will probably announce their signees in a bulk press release. But both players have agreed to terms and signed according to Jesse Sanchez (MLB.com).
I believe that’s two years in a row we’ve spent the largest deals on Dominican players, and top 10 rated players to boot. We’ve signed plenty of DR players since re-committing in the post McCourt era, but it hasn’t typically been the higher rated guys (not since 2015 from what I can recall). It might not mean anything, but I’d imagine we get a closer look at DR players than say Venezuelan players we’ve spent heavily on (who have been a little hit and miss) and maybe that translates into a more accurate evaluation. The early returns on Munoz and De Paula are encouraging.
Keibert Ruiz was the last Venezuelan to make it as a Dodger. Julio Urias and Victor Gonzalez are both from Mexico and Brusdar Graterol is from Venezuela. Their two most recent international MLB internationals, Miguel Rojas and Yonny Hernandez are from Venezuela.
Diego Cartaya is the top prospect and he is from Venezuela. Miguel Vargas and Andy Pages are Cuban and Jose Ramos is from Panama. Eddys Leonard is from the DR and Jorbit Vivas is another from Venezuela. Carlos Duran and Rayne Doncon are Dominican. Those are the current top international prospects.
But a couple of total misses could be Luis Rodriguez and Wilman Diaz, both from Venezuela.
They have hit and missed on players from Cuba. I cannot remember the last prospect from the DR that were as big as a miss as Rodriguez or Diaz.
I am really looking forward to seeing what the two DR prospects do this year in the DSL.
If the Dodgers had $5MM+ in their international bonus pool, maybe they would have tapped Salas. Next year it could go back to Venezuela. Without a Mike Brito, it is hard to find out who the best international “kids” are.
Just saw an interview with Ethan Salas, the 16 year old catcher from Venezuela that Preller just spent 95% of his international allotment on.
Wow. What an impressive kid. Speaks absolutely perfect English. Interviews like he’s been a pro for 10 years. Played Venezuelan winter ball this year with MLB players while being 12 years younger than the average player there.
This kid is special.
From MLBTR Bi Hgype:
Jacob Amaya, 24, SS, MIA (AAA)
(AA/AAA) 567 PA, 17 HR, 6 SB, .261/.369/.427
We covered Amaya a little over a month ago when speaking of the Dodgers middle infield depth. The skinny is straightforward – he’s a patient hitter with a history of modest exit velocities and too much ground ball contact. The profile is that of a second-division starter or utility man. Acquired by the Marlins as the return for Miguel Rojas, Amaya should find his way to the Majors at some point this season – possibly Opening Day. Unlike higher-profile prospects, the Marlins have little incentive to worry about Amaya’s club control. He could potentially form a platoon with Joey Wendle or join Jon Berti and Jordan Groshans as flexible bench depth.
Sounds like this kid could be a younger, faster, stronger, more athletic version of Miguel Rojas.
After yesterday I believe the Dodgers now have 83 RHP.
And more to come. They are not done scouring the waiver wires.
Spring training is about 5 weeks away, but for those of us who need a dose before that, the team is holding Dodger Fan Fest at the stadium on Saturday, Feb 4th this year. It’s always televised on the Dodger tv network for those of you who have access to that.
Good time to get acquainted with some of the new guys and get inspired by the returning ones. Always a nice event after a long winter away from baseball.