The St. Louis Cardinals announced the signings today of five international free-agents on the first day of Major League Baseball's international signing period for 2015-16.
Headlining today's signings, announced by Cardinals Director of International Operations Moises Rodriguez, were right-handed pitcher Alvaro Seijas (Maracay, Venezuela) and shortstop Raffy Ozuna (San Cristobal, Dominican Republic).
Seijas, 16, is considered by the Cardinals to be among the top-ranked pitchers in the July 2 class. "Seijas currently possesses a low 90's fastball with sound control and a curve ball that projects to be an out pitch in the future," said Rodriguez. "We are thrilled to have acquired a starting pitcher who we consider to be the top 16-year- old pitcher in the international market."
The 6-1, 175-pound Seijas is a native of Maracay, Venezuela who was born on Oct. 10, 1998. His father was a professional basketball player in Venezuela for many years and the athletic Alvaro also played basketball in numerous national tournaments representing his state of Arugua.
Ozuna, 16, is a switch-hitting shortstop who was born on Sept. 8, 1998 in San Cristobal, D.R. His father is currently a minor league coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers and he also played minor league baseball for the Dodgers. The 6-2, 185-pound Ozuna has spent his entire life around the game of baseball. "Raffy projects high from a physical standpoint, has a plus arm, and we view him to be among the top shortstops in this year's class," said Rodriguez.
In addition to Seijas and Ozuna, the Cardinals announced the following players who were also signed today and will be activated to play for the Cardinals DSL team:
• Anthony Trompiz, RHP, 6-3, 214 lbs (DOB: Nov. 20, 1997) - Punto Fijo, Venez.
• Brian Pirela, RHP, 6-2, 208 lbs (DOB: Jan. 19, 1998) - Ciudad Ojeda, Venez.
• Noel De Jesus, RHP, 6-2, 181 lbs (DOB: Jan. 8, 1997) - Bonao, D.R.
All of today's player signings are final and each of the players have passed their physicals and the required MLB background checks.
Brian Walton's take
Though they are the plums of this draft, Seijas and Ozuna are not eligible to begin play until next season due to their ages. They are signed to 2016 contracts.
Check back with The Cardinal Nation for a separate article covering the international market and the implications of the Cardinals’ actions.