Norge Ruiz Rumors

International Notes: Cuban Prospects, Toritani, Hernandez

In addition to the news on a pair of Korean southpaws, the Angels made major international news earlier today by reportedly agreeing to an $8MM signing bonus with 20-year-old Cuban infielder Roberto Baldoquin. That signing will prevent the Angels from signing any player from the next two international signing periods for more than $300K and will also require them to pay a 100 tax on each dollar spent over their $2.383MM international bonus pool.

Here are some more international notes from around the league…

  • Ben Badler of Baseball America has updates on his Top 10 Cuban prospects (which will eventually be re-ranked with second basemen Jose Fernandez, Hector Olivera and Andy Ibanez leaving the island). Badler notes that top stars Yulieski Gourriel and Alfredo Despaigne have reinforced their status as the most talented players in the league by dominating this past season in Nippon Professional Baseball. He also discusses right-hander Norge Ruiz‘s recovery from a rough first outing and an injury to well-regarded righty Vladimir Garcia.
  • Japanese infielder Takashi Toritani is expected to attempt to jump to Major League Baseball this season, reports Joel Sherman of the New York Post within his Top 10 Free Agent predictions. (Toritani doesn’t rank among Sherman’s Top 10.) The 33-year-old shortstop is perceived as a slick fielder, though his .285/.371/.412 batting line offers a bit of upside as well.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that Cuban free agent Yasmany Hernandez will be reported by Charles Hairston (the cousin of big leaguers Jerry Hairston and Scott Hairston). Hairston works with the agency Culture 39.

International Notes: Devers, Encarnacion, Ruiz

While most of the top international prospects from this year's July 2 crop have signed, a few notables remain unsigned. Here's the latest on some of Latin America's top prospects, courtesy of Baseball America's Ben Badler…

  • The Red Sox are expected to officially sign No. 3 international prospect Rafael Devers on Friday, Badler tweets. Boston reportedly reached a $1.5MM agreement with the Dominican third baseman back on July 2.
  • Badler also tweets that No. 4 international prospect Luis Encarnacion turns 16 on Friday, at which point he will be eligible to sign. Badler adds that he will be "shocked" if the Phillies don't sign the power-hitting third baseman.
  • One more from Badler, who writes that 19-year-old Cuban right-hander Norge Ruiz has cemented himself as a rising star in the eyes of scouts (subscription required). He's just 5'10" and 170 pounds, but Ruiz worked at 89-94 mph and flashed terrific command of two plus breaking pitches against the U.S. College national team last month.