Red Sox signings from day one of J2 signing period

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 14: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox is greeted at home plate as he scores on a double by Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 in the second inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 14, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 14: Rafael Devers #11 of the Boston Red Sox is greeted at home plate as he scores on a double by Jackie Bradley Jr. #19 in the second inning against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on June 14, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images) /

The Red Sox had a massive influx of talent in the 2017-2018 J2 signing period. That included Danny Diaz and Antoni Flores. Who will they kick off the 2018-2019 period with?

The 2018-2019 J2 signing period is here! Will the Red Sox be big spenders like years past? This is the player pool that the team has used to bring in talent like Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Yoan Moncada, Anderson Espinosa and plenty more. So there is a ton of talent to be had. The team isn’t expected to land anyone at the very top of the rankings. But they are expected to be aggressive in using the money they have allotted.

Last summer they brought in Danny Diaz and Antoni Flores. Both are off to exciting starts in the Dominican Summer League (DSL). Diaz is hitting for some serious power, which is rare for a kid that age. And Flores is just flat out mashing. Both could see a promotion to the Gulf Coast League (GCL) soon. This year the top name in the rankings for the Red Sox is Eduardo Lopez.

Eduardo Lopez, OF – Dominican Republic

The first signing announced today is for Dominican outfielder Eduardo Lopez. The bonus amount is $1.15M which is a touch lower than the predicted amount of $1.5M. This is the only international free agent in the BA top 50 the Red Sox were expected to sign. He ranks 20th on their list. Like most IFA signees, he likely won’t take the field until the DSL starts games next summer.

While he lacks any obvious plus tools, he is a well rounded player who offers a fairly high floor for a16 year-old IFA signee. Baseball America describes him as having a good baseball acumen and strikezone judgement. He has a fluid swing and little present power. MLB Pipeline ranks him 23rd in the class and believes he has the tools to hit and eventually develop respectable pop. He has below average speed and a mediocre arm, so sticking in center field is not a given. But he takes good routes and gets good jumps. He may be the only nine figure singing the Red Sox make.

Bryan Gonzalez, OF – Dominican Republic

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The second signing of the day is outfielder Bryan Gonzalez from the Dominican Republic. His bonus is reportedly for $500,000.00. While he isn’t among the top IFA signees this year, don’t let that discourage you. The best player from any individual class isn’t always the most well known. Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts is a great example of this, having signed for just $410,000.00.

There isn’t much in the way of scouting reports available for Gonzalez (he wasn’t in the MLB top 30 or BA top 50). But there is a showcase video uploaded by Baseball America which you can watch here. He appears to have a fairly compact right handed swing. It’s not too noisy. There’s a very slight waggle in the bat just before he loads his hands. He’s short to the ball and fairly level. This indicates that, at present, he probably generates power gap to gap more than over the fences. He looks like a fairly muscular kid, but there’s definitely room for him to fill out as he matures and add some power.

Additional IFA news.

As expected, the Red Sox have traded for additional IFA bonus money by sending outfielder Lorenzo Cedrola to the Cincinnati Reds. The amount of bonus money acquired isn’t known yet, but last year the Red Sox traded Nick Longhi to the Reds for $2.75M. So the amount could be significant. Cedrola was having a breakout season for the Greenville Drive. He boasts a 120 wRC+ and 10 SB. With the new CBA capping spending, the Red Sox were limited to just $4.983,500.00 this period. Any additional spending would require trading for another team’s bonus pool money. Even then, they are limited to adding just 75% of their original pool. With no other big name signings expected, the team will likely spread their money around to a lot of lesser known international free agents.

They are believed to have agreements in place with Venezuelan born IFA’s Claudio Ochoa (RHP), Naysbel Marcano (C), and Elio Prado, (OF). Baseball America chooses not to disclose the bonus amounts for Venezuelan players due to the danger it could put their families in. We choose to do the same. If the signings become official we will certainly update you on that. But you won’t find their bonuses listed here despite their existence elsewhere on the internet. Panamanian outfielder Eduardo Vaughn is also expected to sign.

Anything else to keep an eye out for?

The lingering question is whether the Red Sox intend to be big bidders for the services of Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa. MLB has not declared Mesa a free agent yet. So he will have to wait until later in the signing period to land a deal. He should begin workouts for clubs soon. At that point rumors about direct interest from clubs will surface. The trade for bonus pool money with the Reds indicates they plan to spend somewhere, however.

Mesa’s biggest tools are his speed and his glove. At 21 years old, he could be an interesting potential replacement for Jackie Bradley Jr. when he hits free agency in 2021. With money capped, he won’t be landing a massive deal like Yoan Moncada or Jose Abreu, so the Red Sox might have as good a chance as anyone at landing the speedy Cuban.

Next: Red Sox chose right when keeping Rafael Devers over Yoan Moncada.

Keep checking back for updates. We’ll be sure to post any other IFA news as it breaks. In the mean time, should the Red Sox break the bank for Mesa? Let us know in the comments!