SS Felnin Celesten headlines the Mariners’ 2023 international amateur free agent class

The 2023 international amateur free agent interval started on Sunday, January fifteenth, the place it’s now authorized for groups to start negotiating and signing contracts with gamers who shall be a minimum of 16 years outdated however beneath 25 years outdated on this date. The day was shifted from mid-summer to January in the previous couple of years, initially resulting from COVID however finally as an comprehensible shift, permitting newly-signed gamers to affix the advanced leagues the following summer time. The international amateur market has been a supply of a few of the most vital gamers in the Seattle Mariners’ return to the playoffs, together with OF Julio Rodríguez (2017) and INF Noelvi Marte (2018), in addition to a number of of their present high prospects like SS Axel Sanchez (2019), OF Gabriel Gonzalez (2020/21), and OF Lazaro Montes (2022).

Players from each nation in the world outdoors of the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico are eligible for free company via this method, whereas gamers from these three locales change into eligible to enter the league solely at the age of 18 through the MLB draft. The system for international amateur free company has modified many occasions over the course of the league’s historical past, however after years of pure free company MLB has positioned growing limitations on how a lot cash groups are allowed to pay gamers beneath the age of 25 in international free company . The present bonus pool system affords groups important limitations, with every membership receiving between round $4-6.5 million in bonuses to unfold out annually (with Seattle in that high tier). Of course, sadly, MLB doesn’t implement or appear to trouble regulating its personal guidelines, resulting in a system wherein most or all of those offers are agreed upon by groups and trainers when gamers are a lot youthful than the authorized age of 16. Nevertheless, it is a celebratory day for a lot of communities and households, as a whole bunch of gamers obtain their first contract with an MLB workforce and start the climb that may hopefully finish at the high rung of the sport of baseball.

The Mariners introduced seven offers on signing day, highlighted by SS Felnin in Celeste, whose $4.7 million signing bonus is the highest complete doled out by Seattle in franchise historical past to an international amateur signee. Celeste’s bonus is the second-highest handed out by a membership in the 2023 IFA interval; the Padres gave catcher Jorge Salas, the top-rated participant in the class, $5.6M, which is the highest bonus ever in the fashionable hard-capped system. The Mariners are additionally more likely to announce one other pair of notable signings in a few days, though Celesten understandably will occupy the majority of the highlight.

Celesten is the highest-rated prospect from international free company ever signed by Seattle, at 2nd by MLB Pipeline and third by Baseball America, surpassing Noelvi Marte who was seventh and 4th respectively. The scouting report is powerful: with a 6’1 body that packs lean muscle, the Dominican Republic native switch-hits and has drawn rave critiques for his glovework and athleticism, in addition to explosive pop and barrel management at the plate. Seattle clearly agrees, and the 17-year-old might rapidly change into the membership’s high center infield prospect, though a number of years from the bigs in the better of instances. Because of the improved physicality of Celeste, the comparisons have grown astronomically, to the place his identify is already in the combine with a few of the finest shortstop prospects of international signees in latest reminiscence.

The Mariners are additionally enthusiastic about Celesten—whose nickname is “El Fénix” (The Phoenix)—as an individual, with Mariners international scouting director Frankie Thon Jr. saying, “attending to know Felnin as an individual has been simply as rewarding as getting to guage him as a participant. The aptitude, confidence, and swagger that he shows between the strains, is complimented by a soft-spoken, well mannered, and considerate disposition off the subject. Felnin actually has all the components to ultimately develop into an impactful member of the Mariners group, in each sense of the phrase.”

The second-largest bonus in Seattle’s pool has reportedly gone to RHP Jeter Martinez, with $600k luring the Mexican hurler to the M’s. The 6’3 righty works in the upper-80s/low-90s with sink and has been graded by MLB Pipeline as the finest participant out of Mexico this yr.

In addition to Celeste, the Mariners have formally signed 4 different gamers out of the Dominican Republic. Not to be confused with Top-100 Cubs prospect Kevin Alcantara, Kelvin Alcantara is a six-foot outfielder who’s 17 years outdated. Thon Jr. describes him as “certainly one of the finest gap-to-gap hitters in the signing class, complimented by strong defensive expertise.” Left-handed-hitting Delfry Carrasco, additionally from the DR, is an older signing, at 18; he profiles as a flexible defender who can play throughout the filth, and per Thon Jr., has an on-base-oriented method at the plate. (We’re undecided if he is associated to Astros prospect Deury Carrasco, however the two do comply with one another on Instagram.) OF Kay Robles is one other older signing, at 18; he is 6’2” with a powerful, athletic physique and might be near maxed-out bodily, however Thon Jr. describes him as a “distinctive athlete” with plus velocity and uncooked power from the proper facet. He profiles as a centerfielder. RHP Rudy Navarro, whose nickname is “Cabra” (“goat”), is already 6’1″ at simply 16 years outdated; Thon Jr. describes Navarro as a “good athlete” who possesses a fastball and changeup already, and he is engaged on a slider.

The Mariners additionally signed a 16-year-old Sebastian de Andrade, a catcher from Venezuela. Built like a hearth hydrant, de Andrade has a giant, aggressive, uppercut swing from the proper facet. Thon Jr. describes him as having a strong set of instruments behind the plate.

Seattle additionally made a signing out of Nicaragua, a relative rarity for the membership: RHP Kendal Mass. Meza, 17, profiles as an influence pitcher, with a fastball that already sits in the mid-to-low-90s paired with a strong breaking ball and, per Thon Jr., an up-tempo, aggressive method on the mound.

Updated signatures:

Because of logistics, not each signing has been made official but, corresponding to Jeter Martinez. However, there are just a few different gamers who needs to be becoming a member of up with the group over the coming weeks; we’ll replace you on them right here. UPDATE: Six extra gamers have formally been made Mariners, the workforce introduced on Tuesday. In addition to Jeter Martinez, profiled earlier right here, they’re:

RHP Dylan Wilson, Curacao:

Wilson is one other hard-throwing teenager who has important expertise taking part in in Curaçao’s Liga Pabou Little League. At simply 17, he is already reportedly in the 90s along with his fastball and in addition flashes a plus curve. Wilson hasn’t been formally introduced but, however his Instagram (dylanwilsonbaseball) exhibits footage of him signing his skilled contract, alongside along with his chosen quantity (44, if that tells you something about his character). Thon Jr. notes that along with the whiff-getting potential of his curveball, he has plus mechanics and makes use of his lengthy, athletic body properly.

SS Gustavo Beltran, Venezuela

Like Wilson, Beltran has additionally posted a video of him signing his skilled contract and donning his Mariners jersey on Instagram. Sadly that is about all we learn about him, aside from the indisputable fact that he makes use of the otter emoji on a lot of his posts, which makes us actually hope his nickname is “La Nutria.” Update: Per Thon Jr., the 5’8″ Beltran is a plus runner with a compact swing. Although listed as a shortstop, he performs primarily second base.

OF Jean Carlos Gutierrez, Barquisimeto, Venezuela

Gutierrez’s Instagram exhibits a tall, well-built child, which is smart as he profiles as a power-hitting nook outfielder. Thon Jr. describes the 17-year-old as an above-average athlete with plus uncooked energy and strong velocity. In Venezuela, Gutierrez performed for the Liga Izturis, a league based by 13-year MLB participant César Izturis (who can also be the father of present Mariners prospect César Izturis Jr.).

INF Alexander Garcia, Venezuela

Per Thon Jr.: The 17-year-old is “a 5-foot-11 infielder who’s a plus-athlete and might play a number of positions. He has uncooked power and an aggressive method at the plate, with good vary on protection.”

RHP Jose Romero, Venezuela

Per Thon Jr.: The 18-year-old is “a 6-foot-1 right-handed pitcher with an aggressive mentality on the mound. He has a strong breaking ball and his current velocity reaches the low 90s.”

It’s possible the membership will make lots extra signings of decrease profile in the coming weeks and months, however congratulations to all these gamers on taking an enormous step in direction of their goals.

Leave a Comment