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Jays Continue to Accumulate International Talent

Alex Anthopoulos continues to make good on his word that the Jays will infuse so much talent at the bottom of the organization that it will come to the surface in waves of high-end talent. The latest signings are a continuance of the already sizable investments made from 2010 forward in Adeiny Hechavarria ($10 million), Adonys Cardona ($2.8 million), Gabriel Cenas ($700,000), Jairo Labourt ($350,000), Francisco Tejada ($150,000), Luis Martin ($350,000), and Aderlin Gonzalez ($260,000). That’s a total of $14.6 million spent before the 2011 signing season came around, a hefty sum for a team that never was a big spender on the international stage.

This year, the Jays have made the following international investments in 16-year old Latin American players:

  • SS Dawel Lugo Dominican Republic (6’1″ 180 lbs, slick fielding SS who should move to 3B or 2B), Signed for $1.3 million
  • SS/OF Wilmer Beccera Venezuela (6’3″ 175 lbs, can still man SS for now, has tons of athleticism and speed)
  • OF Jesus Gonzalez Venezuela (6’1″ 190 lbs, has a cannon of an arm and lots of raw power)
  • RHP Osman Gutierrez Nicaragua (6’4″ 200 lbs, power arm)

Only Lugo’s signing amount is known of so far. While none of the 4 have played a game yet, they have all been assigned to the DSL Blue Jays.

Now we have word that they have also added 16 year old Manuel Cordova out of Venezuela, a pitcher who is said to have the potential for a power arm, even if he doesn’t touch 90 MPH as of yet. He is 6’2″ 180 lbs, and was projected by Baseball America to receive about the 33rd highest bonus on the international market. According to that same BA list, the Jays have now signed the 5th, 6th, 21st, and 33rd highest expected bonus players of this year’s international class. Assuming that Beccera’s bonus is similar to Lugo’s, the Jays may have already spent in the neighborhood of $3.5 to $4 million on this year’s crop, and that’s not including Gutierrez who wasn’t listed on BA’s bonus rankings list. I may be wrong, but I do not believe that JP Ricciardi ever spent anywhere over $1.5 million or so on any international crop, so Anthopoulos is definitely having a major impact on the Blue Jays and their international efforts.

Altogether, that provides the Jays with an infusion of talent in the DSL which includes 2 power arms, 1 infielder, 1 outfielder, and 1 who can play either. It’s important to have that source of talent to blend with what the Jays have obtained in the draft. Once added together, all of the Jays affiliates are better off for it as it brings the chances of having winning teams to a higher level of probability. It definitely doesn’t guarantee anything, but when you see all of the talents that have come through the DSL, you understand why the Jays are willing to give it a great shot.

There are rumors abound that Tyler Beede, the Jays 1st rd pick in 2011, hasn’t shown up for classes yet in Vanderbilt. That likely means that he has reached an agreement with the Jays. If true, it would be the first of what is hopefully a flurry of draft signings by the Jays who really need to amp up efforts to get their many unsigned picks under contract. If true, the Jays will likely have Beede pitch at some point this season, but the question is where. There’s no guarantee he would see any pro game action, but he could possibly join the GCL club if healthy and ready to go. His signing would be encouraging to Jays fans who are waiting to see whether or not the Jays will also make good on their word to spend as much as necessary in the draft.

When you combine the aggressiveness of the Jays on the international market with their aggressiveness in the draft on getting a TON of high school talent on board, you get the sense that the Jays are entirely aware that those who they brought into the organization this year will likely need many years before their ready for The Show. They also know that they already have their first “wave” of talent lined up in AA to LoA, and that they are not going to rush their newly acquired class as a result of this. With a solid core and the right pieces to add to the current lineup all presently playing at high enough levels to be recognized in various all-star games, the Jays are certainly going to be patient and allow all of their prospects the opportunities they need to get better.

The only question that remains now is who’s next? Will the Jays make any more big splashes on the international market? Yu Darvish and others are soon going to be available on the market, will the Jays make a play for such a big name?

I’m not really sure about the answers to those questions, only Alex can answer them. However, I will say that the Jays continue to add an impressive amount of talent to the organization, and that it should result in winning affiliates throughout the organization. The Jays are breeding winning from the bottom up folks, and that’s a surefire recipe for success.

- MG

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Topics: Dawel Lugo, Jesus Gonzalez, Manuel Cordova, Osman Gutierrez, Wilmer Beccera

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  • Mylegacy

    Mat, that BA list of Latin Prospects – was of the top 40 – by their expected “bonus.” While this isn’t the same as “Top 40 Prospect” – it is fairly close. Bearing in mind that scouts can have very varying opinions of 15 and 16 year old kids. Since there are 30 big league teams – you would expect each big league team to be able to get 1.3 of the top 40 guys. The Jays have got FOUR of the top FORTY including – as you say – the 5th and 6th.

    Clearly AA IS carrying through on his “program” to keep building the system with high end players.

    This off-season Darvish is arguably the best pitcher that can be recruited. I’ve a “Yen” he’ll cost a whole stadium of green backs to sign him – but someone is going to sign him. Why not the Jays. Lets face it – seriously – while I would LOVE Pujols or Big Daddy’s baby whale – we are very close to OK – or even much better than OK – in our on field position players. What we lack is another Ace(ish) guy. Yu could be that guy. You know.

  • NewSteve

    @Mylegacy I agree with you ompletely Mylegacy. When AA and Beeston talk about the money being there when they need it, I don’t think they’re talking about using it on overpriced free agents. The problem with FAs is that you’re paying them for what they’ve already done and the only way to sign them is to go above market value. The Jays are spending on loading their system with talent and then buying out the first years of free agency of the best of those players. Just doing that will see the payroll rise into the $120M to $140M range, without signing any free agents. Blowing all their cash on an overpriced FA would interfere with those plans and could even compromise their ability to hang on to their best players.