Franklin Soto / International Prospect League

The St. Louis Cardinals have formalized 13 new free agent deals with international players, but one name is prominently missing.

The St. Louis Cardinals have formalized 13 new free agent deals with international players, but one name is prominently missing.

St. Louis Cardinals press release

On Sunday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced the signings of 13 international free-agents from the first day of Major League Baseball’s international signing period for 2016-17.

Headlining the first day signings, announced by Cardinals Director of International Operations Moises Rodriguez, were outfielder Victor Garcia (Barcelona, Venezuela) and right-handed pitcher Johan Oviedo (La Habana, Cuba).

Garcia, 16, is considered to be among the top-ranked bats in the July 2 class.  “Garcia has a high offensive ceiling with run-producing potential at a corner outfield position,” said Rodriguez.  “He possesses a strong combination of hitting ability and future power.”   The 6-3, 215-pound Garcia is a native of Barcelona, Venezuela and he bats right-handed. 

Oviedo, 18, is a physically imposing pitcher who stands 6-6 and weighs 220. “Oviedo has a plus fastball and a three-pitch mix,” stated Rodriguez.  “He projects as a top of the rotation starter who has an excellent chance to flourish within our system.”

The 13 players (nine position players & four pitchers) who have signed are representatives of four countries (Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico and Cuba).  The complete list of day one signings follows.  Oviedo, catcher Carlos Soto, right-handed pitcher Enmanuel Solano and outfielder Diomedes Del Rio will be activated to play for the Cardinals 2016 DSL team; all others will be signed for the 2017 minor league season:


Johan Oviedo (RHP)                    

18 yrs old

DOB: 03/02/1998      

Hometown: La Habana, Cuba

6-6, 220 lbs                    


Victor Garcia (OF) R/R

16 yrs old

DOB: 09/16/1999      

Hometown: Barcelona, Venezuela

6-3, 215 lbs.                  


Carlos Soler (OF) L/R

16 yrs old

DOB: 10/29/1999      

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep

6-2, 163 lbs


Franklin Soto (SS) R/R               

16 yrs old

DOB: 09/23/1999      

Hometown: San Cristobal, Dom. Rep.

5-11, 168 lbs

Carlos Soto (C) L/R 

17 yrs old

DOB: 04/27/1999      

Hometown: Los Mochis, Mexico

6-2, 220 lbs.                  


Allinson Benitez (RHP)               

16 yrs old

DOB: 11/04/1999      

Hometown: Chivacoa, Venezuela

6-4, 200 lbs.                  


Diomedes Del Rio (CF) L/L 

18 yrs old

DOB: 09/15/1997      

Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela

5-10, 160 lbs.               


Luis Montano (OF) L/R

16 yrs old

DOB: 04/10/2000      

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep.

6-2; 170 lbs


Yowelfy Rosario (SS) R/R

16 yrs old

DOB: 06/09/2000      

Hometown: Santiago, Dom. Rep.

6-3, 165 lbs                    


Alexander Samuel (OF) R/R

16 yrs old

DOB: 03/24/2000      

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep.

6-3, 190 lbs.                  


Enmanuel Solano (RHP)  

17 yrs old

DOB: 09/23/1998      

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dom. Rep.

6-1, 160 lbs


Joyser Garcia (C) R/R

16 yrs old

DOB: 10/14/1999      

Hometown: Ciudad Bolivar, Venezuela

5-10, 165 lbs.               


Rodard Avelino (RHP)               

17 yrs old

DOB: 06/03/1999      

Hometown: Villa Altagracia, Dom. Rep.

6-1, 170 lbs                    


Brian Walton’s take

Five of the 13 above are new names who had not been part of previous reporting and rolled up by The Cardinal Nation’s Derek Shore on Saturday. They are Benitez, Montano, Rosario, Joyser Garcia and Avelino. No bonus information on any of them is immediately available.

Missing from St. Louis’ formal announcement above, however, are two players from Saturday’s reports. They include the club’s top signee, Cuban outfielder Jonathan Machado, who has been reported to be receiving $2.3 million - more than the Cardinals entire international spending allocation for the next year of $2,027,300 - and Dominican right-hander Roy Garcia. My guess is that the lag is a matter of timing, as the Cardinals do not announce deals until every detail is complete.

The position mix is atypical, with only four pitchers among the 13. The largest position grouping is outfielders with five.

The four players mentioned above to be activated in the Dominican Summer League this season are either 18 or 17 years of age. The others, almost all 16 currently, will likely begin play in fall instructional league camp at the Cardinals academy.

We will have more as we learn more.

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