On the first day of international signings the Los Angeles Dodgers blew past their allotted $2 million by inking just one player — Yadier Alvarez.
Alvarez was discovered when the team traveled to Cuba to watch Hector Olivera. While he has already possesses a rocket for an arm, the 19 year old has to develop before he any thought can be given to advancing him up the Minor League ranks and into the Majors.
Shortly after the Dodgers wrapped up their international signing spree for the day, senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes held a conference call to discuss the flurry of activity. The conversation naturally led to Alvarez, who Byrnes said the club is excited to have signed, via Jon Weisman of Dodger Insider:
He’s one of the more talented teenage right-handed pitchers who a lot of us who have been doing this a long time have seen,” said Byrnes, who added that Alvarez throws 97 mph, “occasionally touching 99-100, with very little effort and some pretty good feel for secondary pitches. His foundation (and) his ingredients for this age are pretty rare, so we’re excited to have him.”
Prior to signing the lucrative $16 million contract with the Dodgers Alvarez received interest from the Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies, among others. Alvarez’s scouting report shows a pitcher with the potential of becoming a big name once he develops.
With a fastball upwards of 99 MPH and two secondary pitches, a slider and changeup, which are viewed as above par, Alvarez comes with a high ceiling. The Dodgers have found success with international signees in recent years.
Most notably are Alex Guerrero, Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu. While these international players have worked out well, it’s still important to remember the young age of the prospects and be mindful of some signings facing a good chance of not panning out.
With the new batch of international players coming to the Dodgers, the organization is again assembling one of the best farm systems in baseball.