The Rangers have agreed to terms with Cuban third baseman Yanio Perez, reports Jorge Ebro of El Nuevo Herald. Perez, who rates 13th on Jesse Sanchez’s top 30 international prospect rankings at MLB.com, will receive a $1.1MM signing bonus.
The 21-year-old Perez was cleared to sign on May 20 and receives plus grades for his raw power, per Sanchez, though some scouts have questioned his athleticism and ability to stick at third base. He’s said to have a good makeup by scouts, according to Sanchez, and is also an above-average runner. Baseball America’s Ben Badler has a full scouting report up on Perez, noting that he was once a 45-grade runner (on the 20-80 scale) but is now up to roughly 70 speed once underway, based on his 60-yard dash time. Badler, too, spoke to some scouts who graded Perez’s power well, though he heard above-average as opposed to the more impressive 65 grade used by Sanchez in his report. Perez hasn’t played in Cuba’s top league since the 2014-15 season and was just a career .259/.335/.328 hitter in Serie Nacional, though those stats came in his age 18-19 seasons. Perez is now listed at 6’2″ and 205 pounds, so it seems reasonable to believe that he’s filled out a bit since his last bit of pro experience in Cuba. Badler writes that he could begin next season at the Class-A level.
While Texas has taken an aggressive approach to the international market in seasons past, they’ve been more measured thus far in 2016. Perez’s bonus is the largest they’ve issued, with the next-biggest bonus going to Venezuelan catcher David Garcia, who received an $800K signing bonus in early July, per Sanchez. Even with this notable signing on the books, the Rangers haven’t cleared their allotted pool, so they’re not facing any type of long-term penalization.