This is not breaking news as the Cardinals announced the signings on July 2nd, but wanted to make sure we addressed this during the holiday week. Analysis after the jump.
I used to be really into the July 2nd signing period, following each player very closely that was linked to the Cardinals, watching videos and reading scouting reports. But then I realized how far these kids are from the majors and how far they are from even being 100% prospects in the Cardinals system.
The Cardinals tried the big money signings with Roberto De La Cruz and Wagner Mateo. De La Cruz has been slowly moving through the system since signing in 2008 and finally made it to full season ball this year. And of course, Wagner Mateo’s $3 million deal was voided based on a failed physical due to an eye problem.
The Cardinals have taken a more reserved, and I think better approach in recent seasons in which they spread their international dollars (limited to $2.9 million per season.) They have spread their money out over 3 or 4 players that aren’t the most hyped players in the class, but have skills and could develop.
Those high profile international player problems does not in itself prove anything and the Cardinals did not change their approach simply because of those two players. Signing these 16 year old kids is very much like a lottery ticket. They will not even see competition in the DSL until next year and won’t see action state-side (usually in the GCL) until the year after that. How one of these kids develops from age 16 to 20 will make a huge difference in whether they are a prospect or not. The Cardinals are trusting their scouts and getting 3-4 higher profile lottery tickets each year, hoping that at least one will turn out to be a winner.
The Cardinals are taking the approach of finding projectable players that their scouts believe can be made into major leaguers and trusting their developmental staff to make that happen.
That all being said, along with RHP Andres Serrano($750,000 – signing announced in February), the Cardinals signed the below players.
Venezuela’s Joshua Lopez has shown advanced defensive skills for some teams. Lopez has good footwork, receiving ability and an average arm that plays up because of his quick release. A stocky 5-foot-9 righthanded hitter, Lopez has question marks on his athleticism and stiffness in his swing, but he’s shown he can go the other way, with some teams seeing him better in games than others. The Cardinals seem to be the team closest to Lopez.
The top-paid player from Panama for July 2 this year might end up being Edmundo Sosa, whose Panama Metro youth team won the country’s junior national title. Sosa has long limbs on his athletic 6-foot, 160-pound frame. He’s dabbled in switch-hitting, but he shows much better balance and rhythm with his righthanded swing. He’s more of a line-drive bat than a power guy, showing the ability to make contact with a good approach at the plate. He’s run above-average times in the 60-yard dash. His instincts at shortstop are a plus and he has a good arm. The Cardinals have shown the greatest presence scouting Sosa.
Here’s Sosa in action:
Bandes, who is 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, is a righthanded hitter who uses the whole field and has shown usable power in games. Bandes played in the MLB showcase in the Dominican Republic in February and went 3-for-7 in games against a team of Dominican prospects. He is from Ocumare del Tuy and trained with Ciro Barrios.
the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Bandes is the most advanced of these three teenagers. Scouts describe him as having “power potential that projects him as a middle-of-the-lineup bat.”
Take all of these scouting reports with a grain of salt, especially the one from the Cardinals as these kids are just 16 and will grow and learn more as the Cardinals develop them.