Today, Ben Balder talked about International Spending in Major League Baseball for 2016, and who to watch. You can read that at (http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/three-teams-will-break-international-bonus-pools-2016/) for the full story. He said the usual big spenders like the Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs, and Red Sox had all exceeded their limits, so it was time for middle market teams to shine. Balder said the Braves were “planning to blitz” the 2016 market, and the three targets are very interesting names.
Balder’s Segment on the Braves tells us a lot of new information, and he goes on to talk about the possibility of signing 3 position players:
“The crown jewel of Atlanta’s targets is Venezuelan shortstop Kevin Maitan, perhaps the best 16-year-old July 2 prospect since Miguel Sano signed with the Twins for $3.15 million in 2009. Where Maitan ends up in the field remains to be seen, but several veteran evaluators have called Maitan a special talent at the head of the class because of his offensive ability. With the Braves the heavy favorites, Maitan’s bonus is expected to surpass $4 million, which would be a record for a Venezuelan player. The Braves are also the favorites to land Abrahan Gutierrez, the catcher on Venezuela’s 15U World Cup team a year ago. Gutierrez could command a bonus of more than $3 million, which would likely make him the second-highest paid player out of Venezuela this year. While Maitan and Gutierrez are standouts, the Braves should have several other top prospects and seven-figure bonus signings in their 2016 class, with Dominican switch-hitting shortstop Yunior Severino being another target.”
So, you can all give up your unfunny and unoriginal “trading for pitchers jokes”, because these are 3 impact bats coming into the system (hopefully). Even though they are unproven, the track record of other international players brings a lot of excitement to the organization. I fully expect Maitan to beef up and move to third, Gutierrez could be the catcher of the future, and Yunior Severino could be a possible 2nd baseman (or trade chip).
Once again, the front office is proving that they know what they are doing, stay tuned, this team is quietly making some great moves.