The Braves are the favorite to sign a ‘Young Manny Machado’ on Saturday

Drew Lugbauer

With Atlanta FINALLY out of timeout from their 2015 international signing sanctions, the Braves can use their full signing bonus allocation for international free agents. Alex Anthopoulos and company are already looking to make a splash:


The Braves are only favored for one prospect on this list, #10 overall player by MLBPipeline — SS Diego Benitez:

Benitez is a toolsy shortstop that has drawn some comparisons to a young Manny Machado.

He’s big — 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds — and strong with signs of power now that project to increase as he develops. He can already drive the ball out of the ballpark and hits line drives to all fields with authority. He shows good bat speed and a solid approach at the plate. He should benefit from the daily instruction in a team’s academy once he signs, but there is already a lot to working in his favor.

He’ll have to work on plate discipline and pitch recognition as he advances through the Minor Leagues, but that’s common for all young prospects — domestic or international. On defense, he shows good footwork, soft hands and a strong arm that has a chance to be plus-plus potential.

There’s also a chance he will be a plus runner.

He trains with Venezuela’s Emiro Barboza, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program. The Braves are the favorite to sign him.

This is an encouraging scouting report, and he looks to be a guy who could rise up Atlanta’s system quickly, similar to their other international signings.

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