July 2nd International Free Agent Signings
The Rangers came into the 2015-2016 J2 period with $4,586,600 to spend on international free agents, third highest bonus pool for this period. So far the Rangers have signed center-fielders Leodys Taveras and Miguel Aparicio.
Taveras is a 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic and is the cousin of former major leaguer Willy Taveras. The 6′-1″ 165 pounder is a switch hitting center fielder with above average speed and good with the glove. Reports say he has a solid stroke from both sides of the plate and he should be able to develop at least average power. Taveres is considered to have average to above average five-tool skills. He is ranked as the 3rd best J2 prospect of this period by Baseball America and 7th by Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel. The Bonus for Taveras is $2.1 mill.
Miguel Aparicio has also signed with the Rangers this morning. The 17-year-old out of Venezuela stands at 5′-11″ and weighs in at 170. Aparicio also plays center field and bats and throws from the left side. He projects to stay at center field with above average speed and is also considered a fringe five-tool player. Aparicio was ranked 14th by BA and 27th by Fangraphs. He signed for $500k.
This signing comes as a surprise. Not because the Rangers signed him but because the Rangers were able to sign him without incurring future spending restrictions. The Rangers actually still have a little wiggle room in their signing bonus pool to maybe make a move for one more notable J2 player.
Ibanez is regarded as a solid all around player who lacks a noticeably great tool. His fringe speed and average arm will limit him to second base. Ibanez is best known for his hitting and high baseball IQ. Ibanez is more of a gap hitter than he is a power hitter but he is adept at putting the ball in play and his last season in Cuba he walked more times than he struck out.
Ben Badler of Baseball America had Ibanez as the 8th best player still in Cuba back in August, 2014 and is on record saying Ibanez is a better prospect than Roberto Baldoquin who signed with the Angels last J2 period for a hefty $8 million bucks.
Now is the best time to tell you that the Baldoquin signing took the Angels out of this years J2 class due to spending restrictions from blowing their bonus pool limit which probably caused them to trade their bonus pool slots for this year to Texas for Jason Hoppe a 23-year-old reliever in Spokane who was the Rangers 27th round pick in last years draft and the money the Rangers acquired is what allowed Texas to sign Ibanez without going over their spending limit.
Ibanez is a very polished prospect, Badler thinks he could handle an assignment as high as AA right now and might be major league ready in about a year or so which would give the Rangers some insurance in case something happens to Odor and Profar’s shoulder finally just falls off.
Now here is a video that looks like it’s from the 80’s.