Cardinals to add eight international players

The St. Louis Cardinals have tentative agreements in place with eight overseas teenagers.

Back on July 2nd, the St. Louis Cardinals announced the signing of four teenaged international prospects to contracts for the 2014 season – pitchers Sandy Alcantara and Kerrion Bennett, infielder Hector Linares and outfielder Carlos Talavera.

Since then, news of additional activity has been sketchy. However, The Cardinal Nation has learned that the organization has come to terms with eight other players. Deals with all are not yet final until necessary investigations are complete.

The eight include three right-handed pitchers, one catcher, one infielder and three outfielders. Four hail from Venezuela, three are from the Dominican with one calling Panama home.

Seven are still 16 years of age, with the eighth having just celebrated his 17th birthday. However, four more will turn 17 before next summer's Dominican Summer League campaign gets underway in June.

Seven of the eight are 6-foot-1 or taller. However the two tallest are among those weighing the least – pitchers Juan Alvarez at 6-foot-4, 176 pounds and Franyel Casadilla at 6-foot-3, 172.

Pitchers B T H W DOB Home
Juan Alvarez R R 6-4 176 5/28/1996 Dominican
Franyel Casadilla R R 6-3 172 4/5/1997 Venezuela
Oneiver Diaz R R 6-1 168 8/28/1996 Dominican
             
Catcher            
Dennis Ortega R R 6-2 181 6/11/1997 Venezuela
             
Infielder            
Luis Flores S R 6-1 188 10/22/1996 Dominican
             
Outfielders            
Andres Luna R R 5-11 175 7/17/1997 Venezuela
Jonathan Rivera R R 6-1 187 4/27/1997 Panama
Carlos Rodriguez R R 6-2 215 1/6/1997 Venezuela

Of the 12 2014 signees to date, Linares may be the best hitter. Alcantara and pitcher Oneiver Diaz are expected to have considerable upside and should be in the DSL Cardinals rotation next summer.

Venezuelan outfielder Andres Luna appears to be the most known of the eight new signees – at least in the US. Perfect Game is very familiar with the right-handed hitter, having showcased him this past spring.

From their report:

"Andres Luna is a 2013 OF/2B with a 5-11 180 lb. frame from Maracaibo, VE. Lean athletic build with room to fill out. Has good speed, with a 6.69 sixty, hits from a square stance, balanced no stride approach. Line drive swing plane with gap to gap pop. Makes solid contact when he gets barrel out front, shows good bat speed. Defensively, short arm action, gets on top of his throws. Fields ball off to the side coming through."

There are also three videos of Luna available. The links follow:
Outfield
Hitting
60-yard dash



Remember that to see the entire Cardinals system in one graphical view, check out the Roster Matrix, kept updated at The Cardinal Nation Blog.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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