The Boston Red Sox have made franchise-altering moves during the international signing period in years past, and are hoping their additions this time around have similar effects.
The current face of the franchise, superstar third baseman Rafael Devers, signed with Boston as a teenager in 2013 and Xander Bogaerts did the same years prior.
The Red Sox front office will be aiming for similar results in this year’s class, which is headlined by one of the top prospects available.
Boston agreed to terms with shortstop/infielder Yoeilin Cespedes for a deal worth roughly $1.4 million according to MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez on Sunday.
Cespedes is the No. 25 international prospect in the 2023 class according to MLB Pipeline and has some enticing traits.
“The teen has a compact and strong swing with plus bat speed and noteworthy raw power,” Sanchez wrote. “He already shows an advanced approach at the plate, and he projects to be a solid everyday Major League player because of his overall skill set.”
“Where Cespedes plays is to be determined, and that works in his favor. The versatile teen can play any infield position but will likely end up at second base or third base. He also projects to have an average arm and be an average runner.”
The 17-year-old is listed as a shortstop but appears to be more of a utility defender. He’s listed at 5-foot-11, 150 pounds but will have plenty of time to add some weight, and likely sprout up a few inches as well.
Cespedes carries a notable name in baseball, and while there is no official word on whether or not he is related to Yoenis Céspedes, the former is from the Dominican Republic, not Cuba.
The right-hander’s player comparison was former All-Star utility man Howie Kendrick, a career .294 hitter with single-digit home run pop but a notable 15-year career.
Before taking too much stock into said comparison, Devers’ player comparison was Daniel Murphy, an infielder who never hit more than 25 home runs and had a very different skill set.
Cespedes will be an interesting player to follow, though there likely won’t be much information in the coming years. It’ll be a while before he breaks into the United States minor league ranks.
Ideally, he won’t need to be there long before shooting up to the big leagues.