August 11, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Adeiny Hechavarria (3) throws out New York Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher (not pictured) at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Badler: Blue Jays Looking At Prominent International Prospect Yeltsin Gudino

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With the June draft soon to be upon us and the international signing period right around the corner from there on July 2nd, a lot of attention will soon fall upon where the Toronto Blue Jays will be doing in both. Toronto currently holds the 10th overall pick in the 2013 Major League Baseball amateur draft, but for today, we are going to focus on the international signing period, where the Blue Jays are always active and fairly successful.

In a recent piece from Baseball America’s Ben Badler citing the top 10 international prospects, the scribe notes that Toronto is in the top 10 pool allotment with more than $3 million to spend in the process.

Badler also notes that Toronto is currently the front runner to land Venezuelan shortstop Yeltsin Gudino.

According to Scout.com, Gudino has a small frame, standing at 6ft tall and weighing only 155 pounds. That’s good, as it means the slender shortstop has room to grow, projecting for more power and strength as he fills out.

Gudino has an advanced feel for hitting for a young player under 17, although his power is somewhat minimal now due to his frame size. Scouts do feel that he could improve that with added strength, something that a signing team would likely work with him to build.

Here is what MinorLeagueBall.com had to say about Gudino’s hitting approach:

He hits from an open stance and employs a toe-tap trigger. His setup begins with an open stance, hands high and close to the body, and there is a slight bat wrap in his swing. Mostly a linedrive hitter, Gudino has very good bat speed, and shows some power to the pull side.

His fielding is rated as solid, with a plus arm and a solid feel for the position. Over the long term, he projects to stay at the position, which says a lot for how he grades out as a fielder. However, he does lack natural footspeed, which may inhibit his ability to add range long-term. However, a strong understanding of the game and positioning could help make up for that lack of range.

A disciple of Carlos Guillen, MinorLeagueBall compared Gudino to Rich Aurilia long-term, although I’m not sold on Gudino displaying Aurilia’s power, but may project as a better fielder.

As of mid-March, Scout.com expected Gudino to slot in with a $1 million signing bonus. That may be a lot for a player that currently doesn’t rank above a 60 in any of the standard scouting reports. Still, he’s young, has an advanced understanding of the game and how to approach hitting, and he projects to be a shortstop long term. That may be worth the risk.

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Tags: International Free Agency Toronto Blue Jays Yeltsin Gudino

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