The Cincinnati Reds have made their biggest splash in years on the international market today when they officially signed Venezuelan shortstop Ricardo Cabrera. While there hasn’t always been publications that have tracked and ranked the international free agents, since that did start the signing of Ricardo Cabrera is the biggest non-Cuban signing the team has ever had. Both Baseball America and MLB Pipeline rank the shortstop as the #3 overall player in this signing class, with one source telling me that they believe he’s the top player in the class.
Scouting Report on Ricardo Cabrera
You’ve probably heard the term 5-tool player before. That’s exactly what Cabrera projects to be. All five of his tools project to be above-average or better. The 17-year-old has a potentially plus hit tool to go along with plus power potential. Currently listed at 6′ 0″ and 175 lbs. he can already use the entire field with some authority.
Defensively he’s no slouch, either. Currently a shortstop, the belief is that he should be able to remain there long term. He’s got good hands and footwork at the position to go with an above-average arm. If he does outgrow the position his arm will play just fine at third base and his bat still stands out at that position if the move is necessary. Cabrera also shows above-average speed.
Cincinnati has a pool of $5,721,200 this year to spend and sign players. Unlike the past few years, teams are not allowed to trade their bonus pool space to other teams so that they can expand how much they are allowed to spend. This signing period things are locked down to only what you originally qualified for (there are three tiers that are between $5,179,700 and $6,262,600).
What the Reds are saying
“He’s got a chance to really be an elite player and move quickly,” said Reds Senior Director of International Scouting Trey Hendricks. “The biggest question mark with him is whether he’s going to stick at shortstop long term or not. I could see a scenario where he gets really physical and maybe is forced to move to third. If that happens I think he’ll still have the bat and power profile for that position. But if he can stick at short, you have a chance to have a star there. It’s an elite bat. Just a special player.”
The other signings
Today is just the first day of the 2022 international signing period that runs through December 15th. With that said, most of the signings will occur over the next few days.
Cincinnati has signed/are expected to sign two other players ranked in the Top 50 of this signing class. Venezuelan shortstop Anthuan Valencia was rated as highly as #32 by MLB Pipeline and outfielder Esmith Pineda was ranked 49th overall by MLB Pipeline.
In the past few years Cincinnati has signed 15-25 players in each signing period and that’s expected to be the same during this one. For more information on the signing class as it comes in, we’ve got far more detailed reports on everyone else at RedsMinorLeagues.com.