The Nationals have signed Dominican third baseman Anderson Franco for $900K, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America. Badler had ranked Franco as the No. 29 prospect in this year's crop of July 2 international free agents, and MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez ranked him 16th.
The 6'1", 185-pound Franco became eligible to sign today -- his 16th birthday. Badler writes that Franco's best tools are his raw power and strong arm, adding that he's shown the ability to be a strong defender at third base. Sanchez writes that Franco has drawn praise for his bat speed, footwork at third base and power displays in batting practice. Some scouts, according to Sanchez, believe Franco to be a sleeper who could ultimately end up as the best player from this year's class. Detractors worry about his pitch recognition and a swing that can get long at times.
Franco is the final player from Badler's Top 30 list to sign a deal, though a few players from Sanchez's Top 30 remain unsigned.