Monday, July 1, 2013

Dodgers eye SS Lucas Tirado early in 2013-14 international signing period

The new international signing period begins Tuesday (July 2) and the Dodgers have been tied to one player who could garner a bonus of more than a million bucks.

Lucas Tirado, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic, is the guy the Dodgers reportedly have an eye on. Kiley McDaniel of Scouting Baseball projects the Dodgers to ink Tirado to a $1.2 million bonus. He also ranks Tirado as the 14th-best prospect available.

Tirado, 16, is a shortstop for now, but Matt Garrioch of Minor League Ball thinks he might have to move off the position eventually. He lists second base and left field as possibilities. I’d be perfectly fine if Tirado ended up as a second baseman.

Garrioch also had this to say about Tirado: 
“Interesting hitter. Polished. Not sure he can stick at SS. Might be a LF/2B.”
Tirado’s a lefty swinger with decent bat speed. He isn’t the fleetest of foot, which could lead to a position change. Tirado’s hit tool is his best, with everything else grading out as average in the future (at best).

Tirado won’t be 17 until Dec. 13. At 6’2, 175 pounds, he’ll fill out physically, which could also determine his long-term position.

For what it's worth: Ben Badler of Baseball America doesn't have Tirado ranked in his Top 30 international prospects list. Badler is one of the foremost authorities when it comes to international players, but he isn't the be-all, end-all, either. Also, he didn't have Julio Urias ranked in his Top 20 last year (hat tip to Jared Massey).

I don’t think Tirado is a future star, but, if his development goes according to plan, could be an everyday player in the majors in a handful of years.

Here's some video of the youngster.

The Dodgers have $2,112,900 to spend on international talent this year. That’s down from the $2.9 million they had last year. Badler reported on Wednesday the Dodgers are among a handful of teams looking to trade for more international cap space (trading for cap space explained here by Badler).

The fact the Dodgers could commit more than half of their available pool to one guy -- who isn’t even regarded as the top two or three guys available -- says one of two things:
  1. The Dodgers are really high on this guy
  2. They will acquire more cap space
I won’t question the Dodgers’ methods, as they’ve gotten back into the international market by signing roughly 46 players since the new ownership group took over in May 2012.

The team made waves last year by signing Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu -- neither of whom counted toward the cap spending limit. The Dodgers are interested in a couple other guys who fall into this category this year: right-handed pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez (26 years old) and outfielder Dariel Alvarez (23) -- both of whom are Cuban defectors.

I wrote about Gonzalez for Yahoo! Sports last week. The Dodgers should go all out for this guy. He could pitch in the majors this season and profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation guy long-term.
“Gonzalez has fastball that sits in the low-90s and routinely touches 94-95 MPH. He also has a changeup, curveball, cut-fastball and the rare forkball. Dodger fans remember a great forkball thrown by Hideo Nomo oh so many years ago.
Many believe Gonzalez is near-MLB ready. He might need a month or so in the minors to get back into the rhythm, but he should pitch in the majors this season. He profiles as a middle-of-the-rotation starter with No.2 upside.”
Alvarez would be a nice get for nothing other than depth, because the last thing the Dodgers need is more MLB-ready outfielders. But I’d rather the Dodgers focus efforts elsewhere.

It should be an interesting signing year. I want the Dodgers to acquire more cap space after a lackluster draft. Chris Anderson is the only player with impact potential from the Dodgers’ 2013 draft.

These international prospects -- save Gonzalez and Alvarez (to a certain extent) -- are lottery tickets. If the Dodgers hit on just one per year, the investment will have been well worth it.

If the Dodgers come out of the signing period early on with Gonzalez and Tirado, I'd call that a win.


  1. Jonathan Mayo ( has Tirado listed at #19 on his top 30 rankings with the following comments

    Scouting Grades* (present/future):

    Hit: 4/5
    Power: 4/5
    Run: 3/3
    Arm: 4/5
    Field: 4/5

    A 2012 Under Armour All-American, Tirado impresses scouts with his arm strength and the way he catches the ball at shortstop. Those attributes combined with his good footwork on defense give him a chance to stay at the position for a long time. He might also shift to third base or second base in the future.

    At the plate, the switch-hitter has one of the better left-handed swings in the entire class - a line-drive stroke to all fields - and good bat speed. He's been described as "raw" and there is still room for improvement offensively, but Tirado has shown occasional power and many believe he will improve at the plate as he matures.

    Scouts like his running ability on the bases, but they would like to see an increase in overall body strength and muscle. The 6-foot-1, 186-pound infielder has been praised for his makeup and baseball IQ. He is the quintessential "good kid," because he's a team player and has a good attitude.

  2. Also, e-mailed Jim Callis (Baseball America) and he re-confirmed the $306,200 bonus amount for 5th Round Pick, RH JD Underwood.

  3. Another Jonathan Mayo ( Top 30 that looks interesting ...

    Emmanuel DeJesus - 6'3" 185 - L/L - 12/10/96
    Valencia, Venezuela
    Rank: 34

    Scouting Grades* (present/future):

    Fastball: 2/4
    Curve: 3/5
    Changeup: 4/5
    Control: 4/5

    Scouts like the pitcher's size - he's 6-foot-3, 185 pounds - and his upside. The tall left-hander is projected to be a power arm and a starter, but DeJesus could end up in the bullpen one day.

    What's more, the teenager is a strike-thrower and has good command, but does not dominate batters with an overpowering fastball. However, he does have an array of secondary pitches, which includes a good changeup, to keep hitters off balance in the batter's box. He has good sink on his fastball and tries to work the corners of the plate.

    DeJesus wowed scouts at MLB's National Showcase in Venezuela last November, but struggled against top prospects at MLB's International Showcase in the Dominican Republic two months later. That left some scouts wondering which was "the real" DeJesus. He's represented by Luis Blasini and trains out of Valencia, Venezuela.

    He is not listed on Ben Badler's ( Top 30, Kiley McDaniel's ( Top 32, but was in Matt Garrioch's ( Top 50 at #49.

    Another interesting prospect I noticed on Matt Garrioch's ( list was ...

    CA Ihan Bernal - 6'0" 190 - L/R - 10/20/96
    Rank: 11

    Smooth lefty swing. Good defender. Should be able to acclimate easily to pro ball.

    (Ranked higher than CA Jose Herrera, #13)

  4. TrueBlueLA is reporting (confirmed by Baseball America) that the Dodgers have signed both 15th Round Pick, LH Billy Flamion ($100,000 - slot) and 17th Round Pick, RH Greg Harris ($175,000 - over slot) to contracts.

    This adds further evidence that Callis (BA) was correct on 5th Round Pick, RH JD Underwood's bonus amount ($306,200 vs. $360,000).

  5. Yeah. I'm going to do an update later this week.