In recent years, the Dodgers have been among the bottom of the league over the past few years when it comes to signing international amateurs. In fact, the Dodgers spent just $177,000 on foreign prospects from the 2011 signing date until early this year. That all changes today, with the Dodgers investing $300,000 in a 16 year old right-handed pitcher by the name of Bryan Munoz.
Munoz, who pitched in the Dominican Prospect League, reached an agreement with the Dodgers last week and will need to pass a physical before the deal is official.
I've read some reports on Bryan, with the first being posted on the DPL's official website (hat tip to Roberto Baly of Vin Scully Is My Homeboy).
"The DPL Elite Travel Team has returned safely to the Dominican Republic but before they arrived RHP Bryan Munoz decided to return to the Island as a Los Angeles Dodger. Munoz participated in the Louisville Slugger Tournament Series in January and was selected to the DPL All-Star game in February and pitched very effectively, as a result he was selected to the DPL Elite Travel Team. Bryan has been consistent in every outing he's had, in his first start in Arizona he didn't allow a single ball to leave the infield until the fourth inning. Munoz topped out at 90 mph and showed good command to both sides of the plate working consistently at 88-89 with good pitch-ability, breaking three bats in his highly effective outing. His curveball showed hard spin and good depth that registered as high as 81 mph, though it was at its best at 79. He also worked in an occasional low 80s changeup up to 83 mph. Munoz changes his arm slot at times, but generally throws from a high 3/4 slot with a loose whippy live arm. Before taking a flight back home Bryan Munoz agreed to terms with the Dodgers for $300,000, per his agent Kevin Bandel."
The second evaluation comes from scout.com's own Frankie Piliere, who hasn't seen the teen himself but relayed some opinions from scouts:
"Fairly polished for his age. Sits 88-89, topped at 90 w/ sink. Good breaking ball, CH lagging behind a little. Scouts I talked to noted him as one of the safer bets on that team. Maybe not a huge upside guy but he got lots of praise from scouts."
And finally, an industry source relayed to me the following information:
"He's a 16 year old RHP. FB-86-91. Knows how to pitch, not just a raw thrower. 6 foot 180 now, projects well."
So the reports add up. While he doesn't have overpowering velocity right now, there could be more in the tank thanks to his size and arm. He seems advanced for his age, which is always a plus. Seems to have a good curve.
There's video of him available on youtube. He reminds me a bit of Angel Sanchez, especially when he stays over the top. Looks like he gets good movement on the ball and hides it well.
For the Dodgers, this is the top international signing in years. Maybe not the highest ceiling but seems like a decent bet to advance fairly quickly despite his age. It'll be interesting to see where he begins 2012 and I'll be eagerly following his career from the start.
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