- The Cardinals are completing a $2.3MM deal with Cuban outfielder Jonathan Machado, and will also sign Venezuelan outfielder Victor Garcia for $1.5MM and Cuban righty Johan Oviedo for $1.9MM, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez writes. MLB.com ranks Machado the No. 10 prospect available this signing season, noting comparisons to Kenny Lofton and Ichiro Suzuki. The speedy 17-year-old was widely expected to sign with the Cardinals. MLB.com ranks Garcia the No. 12 prospect available, praising his big raw power but noting that his plate approach could use work. Oviedo is a somewhat off-the-grid signing, at least from the perspective of the available public information — he doesn’t rank in MLB.com or Baseball America’s top prospects lists. Sanchez had previouslytweeted, though, that the 18-year-old Oviedo is 6’6 and 235 pounds, and already throws 94-96 MPH, touching 98. It’s not hard to see why teams would be interested in such a player. The Cardinals have the smallest bonus pool of any organization, at $2,027,300, and these three signings alone would send the team way past it.
- Think: A young Kenny Lofton. What’s more, Machado has been compared to Ichiro so often that many in the Dominican Republic simply know him as “Suzuki.”
Scouts that have seen him play call him another name: Gamer.
The speedy Machado has an aggressive approach at the plate and has added mass to his frame since he left Cuba last year. He profiles as a leadoff hitter and has been clocked at 6.5 seconds in the 60-yard dash. He can play shortstop but he has good instincts in center field and that’s where he’ll likely end up once he signs.
Machado’s body type is of concern to some scouts, but there’s no denying his athletic ability and his track record. The teenager played for Havana’s 15-and-under team as well Cuba’s 15-and-under World Cup team.
Machado, who was declared a free agent and became eligible to sign last winter, is trained by Javier Rodriguez in the Dominican Republic. The shortstop is expected to sign with the Cardinals.
Source: Charlie Wilmoth MLBTradeRumors & MLB