Dec. 6: The Royals have also agreed to a deal with former Braves prospect Juan Carlos Negret, Sanchez reports (via Twitter). The Cuban-born 18-year-old hit .264/.401/.391 with a pair of homers and 23 steals (in 32 attempts) across 217 plate appearances and 50 games in the Dominican Summer League this past season.
Dec. 5: The Royals have agreed to sign right-hander Yefri Del Rosario for a $650K signing bonus, reports Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com (via Twitter). The 18-year-old Rosario had originally signed for a $1MM bonus with Atlanta but was one of the dozen prospects whom commissioner Rob Manfred declared a free agent following the league’s investigation into the Braves’ misdealings on the international prospect front.
Del Rosario made his professional debut in 2017 when he tossed a combined 37 1/3 innings between the Braves’ Rookie-level affiliates in the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League. In that time, he posted a 3.62 ERA with a 36-to-14 K/BB ratio. Prior to DelRosario’s signing, Baseball America’s Ben Badler noted that he had already run his fastball up to 94 mph and featured a breaking pitch that at times looked like a plus offering while also noting that there were some concerns that Del Rosario’s mechanics and smaller stature would eventually lead to a future as a reliever. More recently, ESPN’s Keith Law called Del Rosario the “most intriguing” pitcher the Braves lost in the scandal, praising his athleticism and arm speed.
The Royals are still in the “penalty box” for vastly exceeding their international pool in the 2015-16 signing period, meaning they’re barred from signing any player on the 2017-18 class for more than $300K. However, as pertains to the Braves prospects that were recently dubbed free agents by Manfred, teams can reportedly dip into next year’s signing pool in order to ink them. That, it seems, is the route the Royals are taking here. Notably, today marks the first day that those former Atlanta prospects can officially sign with new organizations. They’re eligible to sign for a new bonus with any team other than the Braves between now and Jan. 15, after which they’ll still be eligible to sign but ineligible to receive an additional bonus.