In the same way that this site takes a look at potential high school and college prospects who are eligible for the MLB Rule 4 Draft, I think it is good to take a look at the international players who will be eligible for signing in the relatively near future. One of the biggest producers of Latin American talent as of late has been the Dominican Prospect League, a showcase team of sorts that has made things a little easier not only for Major League teams in terms of scouting, but for analysts and experts to get information on potential prospects coming out of the Dominican Republic.
On April 4th, the Tampa Bay Rays signed SS prospect Christian Toribio to a $65,000 contract. With Toribio’s signing and Ignacio Valdez signing a $260,000 contract in February, baseball fans should be ready for more and more of these “older” (and by older, I mean they are already 16 and were eligible last year) DPL prospects to be signing contracts as we reach closer and closer to the International Signing period come July.
Let’s take a look at what the Rays acquired in Toribio.
What scouts are saying about Toribio
Toribio is a low-cost, low-ceiling prospect out of the DPL program in the Dominican Republic. Signed by Rays scout Danny Santana and developed by trainer Miguel Delgado, Toribio has been projected by scouts as a “Major League shortstop with power potential.” At six-feet and a 170 pounds, he has a long lanky frame and sports good athleticism for someone his size.
According to the report on the DPL web site, scouts note that he has above-average speed and that his arm should stick at the shortstop position. Furthermore, they have noted Toribio’s ability to hit the ball to the gaps, and that his burgeoning power and tool development will make strides as he continues to mature in size.
What S2S thinks of Toribio
Toribio flew relatively under the radar in the DPL program (there isn’t much on him, not even on the Web site itself or Perfect Game.com, which has been doing a lot of coverage on the DPL as of late). This does not really come as a surprise though considering his position. The DPL has produced a lot of highly-heralded shortstop prospects lately, with the big recent ones being Adalberto Mondesi (who signed for $2 million with the Royals last season) and Dawel Lugo (who signed for $1.3 million with the Blue Jays last year). The timing and monetary amount of Toribio’s signing suggest that he fits the profile of the low-cost, high-risk prospect that teams stock in their system with the hope that they could get some “bang for their buck” should he develop into a Major League player.
The Rays have already some high profile shortstop prospects in their system with Hak-Ju Lee and Tim Beckham, so Toribio right now looks to be an organizational guy at this point. At $65 grand, the Rays won’t lose any sleep should Toribio not develop into anything as a player (and the Rays are pretty active in Latin America as evidenced by them having a Dominican AND Venezuelan Summer League team). However, while he may not be a high profile guy in comparison to other prospects in the DPL, he seems to have the tools and frame to be an interesting player to watch as he most likely transitions to the Rays’ Dominican Summer League club in Boca Chica North.