As the delayed 2020 International Signing period opened, the San Francisco Giants made one of their biggest signings since the 2018 class, signing SS Ryan Reckley from the Bahama to a $2.2 million deal, as well as others.
Other early signing and bonus numbers include catcher Juan Perez from Venezuela for $1.2 million and Venezuelan shortstop Dennys Riera for $700,000. Reckley was ranked as the #9 prospect on MLB Pipeline’s international prospect tracker, while Perez was #30 on their list. They were the only two ranked prospect (which went up to 50) that the Giants signed.
Overall, the Giants signed 11 players on Saturday, with five players from Venezuela, three from the Dominican Republic, and one each from the Bahamas, Colombia, and Panama.
The Giants have a bonus pool of $5,179,700 to spend across all of their signings this year. In the last two years those bonuses have been more spread out, but they’ve centered $4 million on their top three signings this year. Teams can also sign players to bonuses of $10,000 or less, and they will not count against that limit.
Reckley’s bonus of $2.2 million is the highest bonus the Giants have given out since signing current #1 prospect Marco Luciano in 2018. There are also immediate comparisons to fellow Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox, who got the Giants largest ever bonus of $6 million in 2015, before the current limits on international prospect bonuses came into play. Reckley’s bonus is tied for the 4th-highest they have offered, behind Fox, Luciano ($2.6M), Rafael Rodriguez ($2.55M in 2008), and tied with Angel Villalona (2006). The 5th-highest total the Giants have given was Gustavo Cabrera at $1.3 million in 2012. Cabrera suffered a severe injury to his hand in 2013, and left baseball after 2017, and passed away in 2021 with complications after contracting COVID-19.
Since the team brought on Farhan Zaidi on board as the President of Baseball Operations, the team has not given out outsized bonuses, and instead mostly given smaller bonuses spread out among more players. The largest previous bonus the team had given out under Zaidi was to shortstop Aeverson Arteaga, who got $1 million and impressed in his first pro season in 2021.
Reckley is an athletic switch-hitter whose best tool right now is his speed, but he should have at least five average tools as he develops. The 17-year old is a tad undersized at 5’10”, but his speed helps his range at shortstop and has average arm strength that could improve with age. At the plate, Reckley is more power than contact at this point, and though he’s a better hitter from the left side, he has more batspeed and power on the right at this point. He’s also reported to have advanced strike zone knowledge.
Perez, also 17, shows more defensive potential at the moment, but has some good offensive potential as well. Perez has shown good fundamentals behind the plate with a strong arm and the ability to move. He’s also drawn comparisons to 2019 signing Adrian Sugastey in his leadership abilities at the position. He has a broad frame and good batspeed, and is expect to add what should be average power as he grows.
Scouting information on most international prospects is hard to come by in normal years, and is almost impossible outside the top prospects in the current pandemic.
The top-ranked prospect by MLB was Dominican shortstop Roderick Arias, who got $4,000,000 from the New York Yankees. The highest reported bonus went to Cuban outfielder Cristhian Vaquero, who got $4.9 million from the Nationals (out of a bonus pool of $5.18 million).
The Giants long-rumored signing Reckley immediately brought back memories of Lucuis Fox, a shortstop from the Bahamas whom the Giants signed in 2016 to their highest bonus ever ($6 million), and the signing that put the Giants in a penalty that limited their signings for two years. Aside from their shared nationality, both are switch-hitting shortstops, though Fox was more advanced with U.S. playing experience when he signed. Fox never delivered on his promise, however. The Giants traded him in 2016 to Tampa Bay as part of the Matt Moore trade. He made the Rays 40-man roster in 2019, and got to Triple-A briefly, but spent most of the season in Double-A. The Rays traded him to Kansas City in late 2020. Since the end of the 2021 season, Fox has been waived twice, claimed first by the Baltimore Orioles, then waived and claimed by the Washington Nationals. He has yet to make his Major League debut, now 24 years old.
The Giants dipped into players from five different countries, and as over the past couple of years, they have become more focused on the Venezuelan market. In the 2021 period, the Giants signed 34 players overall, with 19 coming from Venezuela. They’ve also signed a player out of Panama each of the past three seasons, including catcher Adrian Sugastey and outfielder Mauricio Pierre.
Full List of International Signings and reported bonuses (Updated 1/15/22)
Ryan Reckley, SS, Bahamas ($2.1M)
Carlos Gómez, RHP, Colombia
Moises de la Rosa, OF, Dominican Republic
Mauricio Estrella, RHP, Dominican Republic
Alfonso Pérez, RHP, Dominican Republic
Erick Arosemena, OF, Panama
Alesandro Durán, C, Venezuela
Audie Jiménez, SS, Venezuela
Juan Perez, C, Venezuela ($1.2M)
Dennys Riera, SS, Venezuela ($700K)
Defrain Yriarte, RHP, Venezuela