The International signing period is fast approaching and the Minnesota Twins are the favorites to land one of the top prospects available.
The Minnesota Twins have had success signing International free agents in the past. Misael Urbina has the potential to develop into a game-changer, adding to a growing list of success for the Twins on the International market.
The Twins everyday lineup currently features two players who were signed as International free agents. Minnesota signed a highly touted shortstop prospect out of the Dominican Republic during the 2009 offseason and that acquisition has worked out well for both sides.
Miguel Sano is that former high-ranking prospect and he has turned into a potential star in MLB. Sano has 76 home runs through his first 330 games with a career .252 batting average for the Twins. Although he is off to a slow start to the 2018 season, Sano is a game-changing presence in the middle of the Twins lineup.
2009 was a busy year for the Twins front office in regards to International signings. On top of signing their current starting third baseman, Minnesota also inked starting outfielder Max Kepler that year. Although Kepler is yet to blossom into a Major League star, he is an above-average starting outfielder for the Twins.
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Kepler is just beginning to get his feet wet at the Major League level. He has hit .244 in 284 career games with Minnesota. However, Kepler has started the 2018 season strong batting .311 with four home runs and a .378 on-base percentage. Byron Buxton has had a tough-luck start to the season and the Minnesota Twins will need Kepler to help fill the void.
Now, let’s look at newest potential signing
Urbina is a 15-year-old outfield prospect from Valencia, Valenzuela who projects to be a possible stud in MLB. However, it will be a few years before he comes stateside to showcase his talents.
Speed and bat skill are what set Urbina apart from other prospects available this year. Although Urbina doesn’t have a howitzer for an arm, he projects to be an average or better defender as he matures. His plus-speed will help him tremendously on the bases and in the field. He could also develop more pop in his bat as he grows into his frame.
Minnesota has had success with bringing along International signings at the right pace. Signing with the Twins would be a good choice for Urbina because Minnesota won’t have a need in the outfield for at least three or four seasons. By the time Urbina will be ready for MLB, the Twins will likely have an opening for him.
However, it’s almost impossible to predict how a prospect will develop until he is part of an organization. For every Sano and Kepler, there are countless highly touted prospects who never reach their potential. Only time will tell if Urbina will be as good as scouts think he can be, and time is something the Twins have a lot of right now.
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