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Minnesota Twins to Sign 3 Top International Talents


The international signing period officially opens today. The Minnesota Twins have agreed to terms with three players ranked among the top 40 talents in this year's class, and now we know the dollar totals of their agreements. 

Read on to learn more about Yasser Mercedes, Yilber Herrera, and Bryan Acuña.

The international market has been a key source of talent in the Twins system, yielding not only big-league players like Jorge Polanco, Max Kepler, and Miguel Sanó, but also several of their current most intriguing prospects

They'll be adding to that pool when the following expected signings become official. The Twins have a $5,721,500 bonus pool for international signings this year and it appears this is how they'll be divvying up a large chunk of it.

Yasser Mercedes, OF – Dominican Republic ($1.7 million)

The headliner of this year's Twins international class is a big lean outfielder with an impressive and balanced skill set. Speed and defense are considered his biggest strengths currently, leading many to believe he can stick in center field. 

According to MLB Pipeline, "Mercedes has some of the best tools in this year’s class, but it’s his ability to use those tools in games that’s helped him become one of the most intriguing prospects on the international market."

Yilber Herrera, SS – Dominican Republic ($700K)

"Think of a young Jorge Polanco. That’s the best way to describe the athletic Herrera." So claims MLB Pipeline's writeup on this switch-hitting shortstop, and this description comes as music to the ears of Twins fans. 

The Venezuelan infielder is currently known as more of a contact hitter with quick hands, but there is hope he'll start to develop substantial power as he grows into his frame. That's basically the path Polanco took on his way to becoming one of the best slugging middle infielders in the majors.

Bryan Acuña , SS – Venezuela ($650K)

You probably recognize the last name. Yes, Bryan is the younger brother of Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. He's been on the international scouting radar for sometime, and while he's not viewed as one of the premier talents in this class, it bears noting that his older brother signed with Atlanta for a mere $100K back in 2014.

He's currently listed as a shortstop, but Acuña is unlikely to stick there. His bat is expected to be his ticket to advancement; he already has a good feel for hitting and the hope is that he'll add power he muscles up. 

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Well that's a little over half of their allotted amount leaving them with about 2.6 million left if I calculate correctly.  Still lot's of room to gain more lotto tickets with that amount left.  Looks like a decent class but I say that every year. At 16 it is just way too early to know if these guys will be able develop into an MLB player.  The odds of making it are 5% or under I believe so it's not easy.

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5 hours ago, Danchat said:

3 in the top 40 seems better than usual. Maybe we can see a Sano/Polanco/Kepler-like combo hit the majors around 2028/2029... can't wait!

Some of these young stars make it by the time they are 20 or 21.  That would be 2026.  Some of us are way too old to hope for 2028/2029.

will second Dman’s comment that they have nearly half their dollars available for another 7-8 guys at $200k plus money left over for guys at Arraez’ type money ($40k).

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Others signed by the Twins today... (per Ben Badler, Baseball America.)

 

Yasser Mercedes, OF, Dominican Republic
Yilber Herrera, SS, Dominican Republic
Bryan Acuña, SS, Venezuela
Jose Rodriguez, OF, Dominican Republic
Anderson Nova, OF, Dominican Republic
Juan Zapata, SS, Dominican Republic
Daniel Peña, C, Twins

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9 hours ago, Monkeypaws said:

Looks like an interesting crop.

Anderson Nova and Juan Zapata are MLB-ready in the name department.

“Va” means “go” en espanol so “No go” as an outfielder is less exciting but I do like “Johnny Shoe” Juan Zapata has a very big league feel ;)

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Scouting here is so important, but so is realistic "projection" of what the player "could" be.  I agree that international signing is a potential gold mine for talent.  The thing is, so many of these guys are SO YOUNG that many of us will have forgotten about them for a couple years while they grow and mature in the low minors and then suddenly "remember" who they were once they finally get to High A or Double A.  I'm glad we got 3 highly thought of players but I also know that the BEST one might be one of the other guys we signed later.  :)  

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2 hours ago, TopGunn#22 said:

Scouting here is so important, but so is realistic "projection" of what the player "could" be.  I agree that international signing is a potential gold mine for talent.  The thing is, so many of these guys are SO YOUNG that many of us will have forgotten about them for a couple years while they grow and mature in the low minors and then suddenly "remember" who they were once they finally get to High A or Double A.  I'm glad we got 3 highly thought of players but I also know that the BEST one might be one of the other guys we signed later.  :)  

 

So the age-old question becomes...

Would you rather see the Twins sign one $4 million guy or four $1 million guy... or 40 guys at $100,000?

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1 hour ago, Seth Stohs said:

 

So the age-old question becomes...

Would you rather see the Twins sign one $4 million guy or four $1 million guy... or 40 guys at $100,000?

I'll split the difference, Seth.  Two at a million and 20 averaging $100K. 

Actually, this year is working out well.  Hopefully, several of those mentioned beyond the top three were paid a couple hundred thousand, but they still have lots of room to add good prospects.   

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3 hours ago, Seth Stohs said:

 

So the age-old question becomes...

Would you rather see the Twins sign one $4 million guy or four $1 million guy... or 40 guys at $100,000?

I looked at this a couple years ago.  Definitely not one $4M guy.  The $1-1.5M dollar guys have done as well or better than the $3M+ guys.  My guess is forty 100K guys would net better odds too but that would take some effort to figure out.  The approach they are taking this year is basically 1/2 on more modestly price premium guys and the rest spread out among many players seems like a pretty ideal compromise..

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International signings are even more of a crap shoot than most drafts.  They are so young and you have no real clue how they will grow and develop.  It used to be you also had no clue how old they really were too, but that seems to be less of issues these days.  

Here is to hoping one of them work out well, or like the Sano, Polonco, Kepler trio all make the majors. Some years you hit jackpots, and some years you swing and miss. 

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Good start with the 7 signed that we know of..  Interesting they have signed very few pitchers in the international signing periods..  

The Rays signed 23 players in this signing period.

 

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11 hours ago, Russ said:

Good start with the 7 signed that we know of..  Interesting they have signed very few pitchers in the international signing periods..  

The Rays signed 23 players in this signing period.

 

According to Spotrac the Dodgers signed 29.  No amounts were listed.  20 were from Venezuela.  They only have 9 listed for the Rays.

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