The St. Louis Cardinals have signed 13 international free agents from the first day of Major League Baseball’s international signing period for 2016-17.
Headlining the first day signings were outfielder Victor Garcia (Venezuela) and right-handed pitcher Johan Oviedo (Cuba), according to Moises Rodriquez, Cards’ director of international operations.
Garcia is considered to be among the top-ranked bats in this year’s class, according to a release issued by the team. “Garcia has a high offensive ceiling with run-producing potential at a corner outfield position,” said Rodriquez. “He possesses a strong combination of hitting ability and future power.”
Garcia is huge for his age at 6-3, 215 pounds and bats right handed.
Oviedo, 18, is a physically imposing pitcher was stands 6-6 and weighs 220. “Oviedo has a plus-fastball and a three-pitch mix,” said Rodriquez. “He projects as a top of the rotation starter who has an excellent chance to flourish within our system.”
The 13 players (nine position players and four pitchers) who have signed are representatives of four countries, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico. Oviedo, catcher Carlos Soto, right handed pitcher Emmanuel Solano and outfielder Diomedes Del Rio will be activated to play for the Cards’ 2016 developmental league and the others will be signed for the 2017 minor league season.
Besides Oviedo and Garcia, the Redbirds also signed:
•Carlos Soler, 16, an outfielder who bats left and throws right.
•Franklin Soto, 16, a righty shortstop.
•Carlos Soto, 17, a catcher who bats left and throws right.
•Allinson Benitiz, 16, a right-handed pitcher.
•Diomedes Del Rio, 18, a left-handed centerfielder.
•Luis Montano, 16, an outfielder who bats left and throws right.
•Yowelfy Rosario, 16, a right-handed shortstop.
•Alexander Samuel, 16, a right-handed outfielder.
•Emmanuel Solano, 17, a right-handed pitcher.
•Joyser Garcia, 16, a catcher.
•Rodard Avelino, 17, a right-handed pitcher.