Evaluating early returns from Red Sox’ 2022 international signing class

With the 2023 international signing period set to begin on Sunday, now feels like an appropriate time to reflect on how some key members of the Red Sox’ 2022 class fared in their first seasons of professional baseball.

Per SoxProspects.com, Boston signed 31 prospects for a combined $5.281 million between January 15 and December 15 of last year. Of those 31 prospects, one has already been traded, as left-hander Inmer Lobo was dealt to the Pirates in November in exchange for infielder/outfielder Hoy Park.

Just two members of the Sox’ 2022 signing class — Dominican shortstops Fraymi De Leon and Freili Encarnacion — received bonuses of more than $1 million. Two others (Venezuelan catcher Johanfran Garcia and Dominican shortstop Jancel Santana) signed for more than $500,000 while four additional players (Dominican outfielders Natanael Yuten and Cristofher Paniagua, Venezuelan shortstop Frayner Noria, and Venezuelan right-hander William Colmenares) netted between $125,000 and $400,000 in bonus money.

De Leon signed for $1.2 million last January and made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League less than five months later. The switch-hitting 18-year-old batted .218/.332/.268 with one double, one triple, two home runs, 21 RBIs, 29 runs scored, 20 stolen bases, 21 walks, and 61 strikeouts over 50 games (214 plate appearances) with the DSL Red Sox Blue. He saw playing time at both middle infield positions.

Encarnacion signed for $1.1 million and spent the entirety of the 2022 campaign with the DSL Red Sox Red. In 41 games for the affiliate, the right-handed hitting 17-year-old (turns 18 later this month) slashed .255/.335/.369 with eight doubles, three home runs, 23 runs driven in, 31 runs scored, nine stolen bases, 15 walks, and 51 strikeouts across 173 trips to the plate. He saw playing time at third base and shortstop and is currently regarded by SoxProspects.com as the 35th-ranked prospect in Boston’s farm system.

Garcia signed for $850,000 at the same time De Leon and Encarnacion did. The younger brother of Red Sox outfield prospect Jhostynxon Garcia, Johanfran compiled a .268/.367/.333 slash line to go along with seven doubles, one triple, 23 RBIs, 26 runs scored, 21 walks, and 25 strikeouts in 40 games (161 plate appearances) with the DSL Red Sox Red last season. The 18-year-old backstop also threw out 26 of 58 base stealers from behind the plate.

Santana, like De Leon and Encarnacion, hails from the Dominican Republic. The switch-hitting 17-year-old signed for exactly $600,000 last winter and proceeded to bat .184/.303/.203 with seven doubles, one triple, two home runs, 16 RBIs, 25 runs scored, 12 stolen bases, 18 walks, and 56 strikeouts in 43 games (179 plate appearances) for the DSL Red Sox Red. He logged 317 1/3 innings at second base and just 31 innings at shortstop.

Colmenares received the highest bonus ($125,000) of any of the 16 pitchers Boston signed in 2022. The 17-year-old (turns 18 next month) righty posted a 3.79 ERA and 3.79 FIP with 40 strikeouts to 18 walks over 13 outings (12 starts) spanning 40 1/3 innings of work for the DSL Red Sox Blue. He reportedly possesses a three-pitch mix that includes a 93 mph fastball.

Of the 23 international prospects who received bonuses of less than $100,000 last year, Venezuelan infielder Marvin Alcantara may have made the strongest first impression. After signing for just $30,000, the right-handed hitting 18-year-old batted .302/.406/.397 with 15 doubles, one home run, 29 runs driven in, 49 runs scored, 14 stolen bases, 29 walks, and 33 strikeouts in 53 games (224 plate appearances) with the DSL Red Sox Blue. He put up those numbers while playing every infield position besides first base.

Alcantara, who is listed at just 5-foot-10 and 157 pounds, did not receive much attention as an amateur. But it was Venezuelan area scout Alex Requena who made the case for the Red Sox to sign the La Victoria native, as assistant general manager Eddie Romero explained to The Athletic’s Chad Jennings last January.

“Just pounding the table for him,” Romero said of Requena’s interest in Alcantara. “He’s one of these guys that the crosscheck group really didn’t get to see much, but he made it to signing day and our area scout was just like, ‘You need to sign this guy!’”

Outside of Encarnacion, Alcantara is presently the only prospect included on SoxProspects.com’s top-60 rankings, as he comes in at No. 37 within the organization.

Alcantara, like many other players listed here, are projected to make the jump to the Florida Complex League for the 2023 minor-league season. Others will return to the Dominican Summer League and continue to hone their skills at the Red Sox’ academy down in El Toro.

(Picture of Freili Encarnacion via his Instagram)


Red Sox prospects Marvin Alcantara and Denis Reguillo identified as potential sleepers within team’s 2022 international signing class

Since the 2022 international signing period began in January, the Red Sox have signed 19 foreign-born free-agents, according to SoxProspects.com.

Boston’s 2022 signing class thus far is highlighted by the likes of shortstops Fraymi De Leon and Freili Encarnacion and catcher Johanfran Garcia, who happens to be the younger brother of Red Sox outfield prospect Jhostynxon Garcia.

While these three may be the early headliners, there are other young prospects worth keeping in mind as well. In his annual review of the Sox’ most-recent signing class, Baseball America’s Ben Badler identifies infielder Marvin Alcantara and right-hander Denis Reguillo as two possible sleepers to watch.

Alcantara, 17, was signed out of Venezuela by area scout Alex Requena back in January. The right-handed hitting shortstop did not receive much attention as an amateur and thus signed with Boston for a modest $30,000.

Still, despite the lack of eyes that were on him, Alcantara received a strong endorsement from Requena, who played a key role in making the signing happen, according to Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero.

“Just pounding the table for him,” Romero said of Requena’s interest in Alcantara in a conversation with The Athletic’s Chad Jennings. “He’s one of these guys that the crosscheck group really didn’t get to see much, but he made it to signing day and our area scout was just like, ‘You need to sign this guy!’”

From the time he officially put pen to paper in January, Alcantara has made adding a muscle a priority over the last two months.

“Alcantara has started to add weight to his slender frame, standing out as a hit collector in games from the right side of the plate,” wrote Badler. “He’s a solid all-around player who could play at different spots around the infield, with his bat his calling card.”

Reguillo, on the other hand, was signed out of the Dominican Republic for just $10,000. There is not as much information available on the righty as there is on Alcantara, however.

“Reguillo was mostly in the mid-to-upper 80s as an amateur, but he has been adding weight to his slender frame since then and has the projection to be throwing in the low-to-mid 90s,” Badler wrote. “Adding more power behind his fastball would make him more intriguing, as he already has good feel for pitching and throws strikes from a good delivery with loose arm action.”

Both Alcantara and Reguillo are presumably raw and early on in their development. The Red Sox doled out a total of $40,000 for the two prospects, which accounts for less than one percent of their $5,179,700 bonus pool this year.

“The signing class isn’t made on January 15 (when the market opens),” Romero told Jennings. “The signing class is really made throughout the year when you have some more of these flexible signings. … We hammer the passed over and the (overlooked players) just as much as we do trying to make sure we’re on top of the premium, priority players in each class.”

On that note, both Alcantara and Reguillo are projected by SoxProspects.com to begin their professional careers in the Dominican Summer League. the 2022 DSL season is slated to begin sometime in July.

(Picture of JetBlue Park: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox expected to sign pair of Dominican shortstops when international signing period opens this weekend

When the 2021-2022 international signing period opens this weekend, the Red Sox are expected to add some young and intriguing infield depth to their farm system.

According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, Boston is in line to sign a pair of shortstops from the Dominican Republic in Fraymi De Leon and Freili Encarnacion beginning on January 15.

De Leon, who turned 17 in September, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 32 overall prospect and one of the best defensive shortstops in this year’s international signing class.

Listed at 5-foot-11 and 157 pounds, De Leon is a natural switch hitter who still has room to grow physically when it comes to adding strength. Per his Baseball America scouting report, De Leon is “a quick-twitch athlete who is light on his feet with smooth actions and good body control at shortstop. [He] has soft hands, a strong arm and good instincts, reading the ball well off the bat with a good internal clock for his age.”

MLB Pipeline, on the other hand, has De Leon penciled in as their 50th-ranked international prospect, noting that the teen is “already a fringe-to-average runner” who possesses “solid defensive actions and a decent arm that should keep him” at shortstop.

Turning to Encarnacion now, the 16-year-old infielder comes in as Baseball America’s No. 37 international prospect. Like De Leon, Encarnacion hails from Santo Domingo but is listed at a taller 6-goot-2 and 175 pounds.

Per Badler, Encarnacion “is strong for his age” and “an offensive-minded infielder who drives the ball with impact for extra-base and over-the-fence juice.

“He’s not a dead pull hitter either, with a sound approach for his age and the ability to hit to all fields,” adds Badler. “Encarnacion has trained as a shortstop, though he might end up sliding over to third base.”

Encarnacion, who actually turns 17 in a little over two weeks, hits from the right side of the plate. He is ranked by MLB Pipeline as the No. 19 prospect in this year’s signing class and is described as a special individual with a great demeanor who is also consistent, confident, and one of the top hitters on the international market.

“He has shown the ability to spray the ball across the outfield, and has a knack for squaring up the ball and driving it up the middle,” Encarnacion’s MLB Pipeline scouting report reads. “On defense, he shows good hands, a plus arm potential and will have a chance to stay at shortstop. He could still make the switch to third base if he outgrows the position.” 

At the moment, it’s unclear how much either De Leon or Encarnacion will sign with the Red Sox for. However, MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez reports that Boston will have approximately $5,179,700 to work with when it comes to their bonus signing pool.

(Picture of JetBlue Park: Mark Brown/Getty Images)