The Red Sox have officially signed international free agent Yoelin Cespedes, per the club’s MLB.com transactions log. Cespedes received a signing bonus of approximately $1.4 million, according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez.
Cespedes is a 17-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic who is regarded by MLB Pipeline as the 25th-ranked international prospect in this year’s signing class. Baseball America, on the other hand, has him at No. 27 on its list.
A right-handed hitter who was scouted by Manny Nanita, Cespedes has drawn comparisons to a young Howie Kendrick in part because of his compact 5-foot-9, 188-pound frame. “He already shows an advanced approach at the plate and projects to be a solid everyday major-league player in the future because of his overall skill set,” his MLB Pipeline scouting report reads.
According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, “some scouts consider [Cespedes] one of the best pure hitters in Latin America for this year, with excellent hand-eye coordination that leads to a high contact rate. He has an aggressive approach that he will have to rein in to become a more selective hitter, but he still has the bat-to-ball skills to make contact with pitches in the zone or off the plate.”
Defensively, Cespedes may be listed as a shortstop at present, but he may project best as a second or third baseman with average arm strength and average speed. Regardless of where he plays, though, Sanchez notes that Cespedes possesses a strong baseball IQ and a great work ethic.
Cespedes, who turns 18 in September, will presumably make his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League at some point later this year. He will account for roughly 30 percent of Boston’s $4.644 million bonus pool for the 2023 international signing period, which opened on Sunday and runs through December 15.
In addition to Cespedes, the Red Sox — as of Sunday night — have also officially signed Venezuelan shortstop Yoiber Ruiz and Venezuelan catcher Andruw Mussett.
(Picture of JetBlue Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)