The Nationals have agreed to a $3.9MM deal with Dominican shortstop Yasel Antuna, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez tweets. They’ve also come to terms with fellow Dominican shortstop Luis Garcia for $1.3MM, via the Washington Post’s Chelsea Janes (on Twitter).
The 16-year-old Antuna ranks No. 14 on MLB.com’s list of the top international prospects, winning praise for his mature approach as both a hitter and fielder. He’s a switch-hitter with gap power and strong overall offensive potential, via MLB’s scouting report, and he has solid range and an improving arm and could eventually become an everyday big-league shortstop. The Nats had long been connected to the young infielder.
MLB.com is even higher on Garcia, which it rates the No. 7 prospect available, praising his contact ability and athleticism. Baseball America likes him even more, rating him the signing season’s No. 3 prospect and noting in its subscribers-only scouting report that the 15-year-old has become one of the best pure hitters available this year. He could stick at shortstop, or move to second base or center field at some point.
The Nationals’ international bonus pool is just $2,235,000, so Antuna’s deal alone would move them into penalty territory. They have also been connected to Venezuelan shortstop Jose Sanchez, also a top prospect.