The Astros have agreed to sign Dominican outfielder Ronny Rafael to a contract with a $1.5MM bonus, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports (Twitter link). The 20-year-old ranked 20th on MLB.com’s list of top 30 international prospects, while he checked in at 25th on Baseball America’s top-30 list.
A 6’0″, 177-pound product of Santo Domingo, the MLB.com scouting report notes that “some scouts believe Rafael is the perfect mix of power, speed and football-type athleticism” with plus speed and aggressive base-running, the ability to play any of the three outfield positions and good raw power. BA’s scouting report is a little more pessimistic, calling Rafael a “strength-based tools guy who’s still learning feel for the game,” and “a free swinger whose pitch recognition needs work, so his offensive profile projects to be power over OBP.”
Rafael is the third international prospect to sign a seven-figure deal with the Astros, following their $1MM contracts with Franklin Perez and Miguel Sierra. Houston has room to be aggressive since they have the highest international bonus pool of any team in MLB.