Salas, No. 1 international prospect, signs with Padres

The Padres, under the leadership of general manager AJ Preller, have been one of the most aggressive teams on the international market for several years now.

And this year’s group of signings might represent the best in the organization.

The club announced Sunday that it signed Venezuelan catcher Ethan Salas, the highest-ranked player on the top 50 international prospects list. According to industry sources, the deal is for US$5.6 million.

The Padres, who have a base signing fee of $5,825,500, have not confirmed the deal, which is still subject to the results of medical exams.

Salas, one of the best catching prospects in recent history, was born to play baseball.

His solid skills on the field come with a remarkable baseball heritage, as his grandfather, father and uncle all played professionally. He’s the younger brother of Marlins prospect Jose Salas, and the 16-year-old might end up being the best player in the whole family.

At bat, the athletic Salas has a good understanding of the strike zone and has shown that he is capable of hitting all fields. He shows good innate power and his power is expected to increase as he develops. He has a good, loose swing and the ability to hit home runs in batting practice and games.

On the defensive side, he has the potential to stand out because he has soft hands, knows how to block and is good at receiving the ball. He shows good shooting mechanics and a strong arm.

He is coached by his father, José Salas, and César Suárez of CJ Baseball Academy. Suárez is a member of the “MLB Trainer Partnership Program”.

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An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League Baseball team between January 15 and December 15. The player must be 16 years old before signing and 17 years old by September 1 of the following year – in practical terms, that means players born between September 1, 2004 and August 31, 2005 will be eligible to sign in this next period.

Players need to be registered with Major League Baseball in advance to be eligible to sign. Teams are allowed to make changes to their international signing quota beginning January 15.

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