International players making their stateside debut

The 2013 year was a big one for international players making their first appearance stateside. There were 10 position players on the AZL Reds who were making their first appearance in the United States and an 11th player in Billings. From the pitching side of things the AZL Reds had 10 more international players making their stateside debut. From pure memory, the 2013 season saw the largest contingency of international players coming over in one single year that I can remember.

In the 2014 season we will see how things play out, but we have been able to see spring training rosters for the minor leagues that includes 175 different players. Among those 175 players though, there are only seven players who are both international signings and would be making their stateside debut. Here is a list of those players:

Player Pos B/T Born From
Jacob Constante LHP L/L 3/22/1994 Dominican Republic
Sebastian Elizalde OF L/R 1/20/1991 Mexico
Ross Ismail RHP R/R 2/19/1997 Aruba
Reydel Medina OF L/L 2/14/1993 Cuba
Dakota Mitchell RHP R/R 8/16/1994 Australia
Jose Munoz RHP R/R 4/4/1992 Columbia
Jonathan Perez RHP R/R 5/3/1995 Venezuela

Three of the players on this list are high figure signings. Let’s take a closer look at the guys on this list.

LHP Jacob Constante

Constante signed for $730,000 in February 2013. He spent the season pitching for the Dominican Summer League Reds as a 19-year-old and dominated on the ERA and strikeout front. In 38.2 innings pitched he posted a 1.86 ERA and struck out 55 batters. One concern though is that he walked 22 batters while being a bit old for the level. While DSL and VSL performance doesn’t correlate much to future production, struggling to throw strikes against the competition there is a bit concerning. His stuff is outstanding though with an above-average fastball and slider. His change up is a work in progress.

OF Sebastian Elizalde

The Reds went to Mexico to sign the outfielder, who had played for Monterrey since he was 18-years-old back in 2010. In 36 games during 2013 before signing in early May, Elizalde hit .328/.361/.448 with 5 walks and 22 strikeouts over 123 plate appearances. He missed the season for the Reds after signing as he needed Tommy John surgery. He will play the 2014 season as a 22-year-old, so he will likely start out in full season ball, likely playing center field. Elizalde is the only Mexican born player in the organization.

RHP Ross Ismail

The right handed pitcher is the youngest player on the list that I saw that is in spring training with the minor league guys, having just turned 17 in February. At age 16, when the 2014 Media Guide was printed, Ismail was listed at 6′ 0″ and 195 lbs. Ismail joins catcher Chad Tromp as the only players from Aruba in the system.

OF Reydel Medina

Medina is the second biggest signing on the list with a bonus of $400,000 that he received in August. The Cuban defector shows off good speed and some power potential to go along with it. He will be 21-years-old during the season and is likely to be playing at one of the A-ball levels this season.

RHP Dakota Mitchell

The Reds signed Mitchell out of Australia in February of 2013 but he didn’t pitch during the season due to him still recovering from Tommy John surgery that he suffered before signing (known to the Reds at the time of the signing). He had been pitching at the MLB Academy in Australia.

RHP Jose Munoz

Munoz has spent four years playing on the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer League circuits. In the 2013 season he appeared in 14 games out of the bullpen, throwing 16.1 innings with 5 walks and 13 strikeouts to go along with a 4.96 ERA. He will play the season at 22-years-old.

RHP Jonathan Perez

Perez received the largest signing bonus of anyone in this group of players, signing for $825,000 in July of 2011. He will turn 19 in May and has yet to make his debut after having shoulder surgery early in his career. When he signed he was listed at 6′ 4″ and 195 lbs. but he has filled out to 6′ 5″ and 218 lbs. as of the printing of the 2014 Media Guide. At the time he signed as a 16-year-old, he was already throwing in the low 90′s and showing a curveball and a change up, but coming back from surgery leaves open plenty of questions about where his stuff is currently at.

There could be additions before the short season opens up in June, but for now these seem to be the names to expect to see for the first time in the box scores and on the fields in the United States.

About Doug Gray

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