Baseball America dropped a wealth of scouting information about the July 2nd international signing period yesterday, and what the Rangers could end up doing during that span, and while the Rangers' Rule 4 draft haul was somewhat underwhelming from the perspective of BA, things are definitely looking up from a J2 standpoint, as the Rangers are listed as one of the 8-9 teams that will invest heavily in this year's class:
In the July 2 market, their priority appears to be Dominican outfielder Ronald Guzman, who should command one of the top bonuses in Latin America. Several international sources also expect Venezuelan lefthander Yohander Mendez to sign with the Rangers. Beyond those two, the Rangers could also be involved with Dominican outfielder Franmil Reyes, Colombian shortstop Gustavo Perinan and Venezuelan outfielder Eduar Pinto, among a host of other players they'll likely add for low six-figure amounts.
I already published some information (and video) on Guzman in an earlier Clubhouse post, so that leaves us looking at Mendez in particular, the top Venezuelan lefty hurler in this year's entire Latin American class:
While many young players of his size struggle with the coordination of their deliveries, Mendez has smooth, fluid mechanics, and the ball comes out of his arm easily with good arm action. His fastball worked around 83-86 mph much of the spring, but he was up to 85-89 mph at a recent showcase. Though Mendez doesn't throw as hard as some of the other top arms in Latin America, he has the delivery and projectable body to throw in the low 90s once he fills out. He also has shown feel for a curveball and changeup.
The thing about distributing a set amount of cash among a greater number of J2 prospects as opposed to, say, doing the same thing with high school/college players, is that there's greater uncertainty with 16- and 17-year-olds who are less developed and have often been seen less in live games ... given that, tossing $100K to 10 different players often proves to be a more viable approach than throwing $1M at a single player.
In any event, it will be interesting to see what other surprises the Rangers pull out of their hat during the coming days and weeks.