Padres 2008 International Signings

"I have been given the marching orders to not stay away from anyone based on the money," San Diego Padres international scouting director Randy Smith said prior to the July 2 signing day. He marched on Wednesday and now has a band at his back.

The San Diego Padres upped their commitment to building a formidable Latin American base with the signings of several high-profile players as the July 2 international signing period kicked off. The San Diego Padres signed infielder/outfielder Corey Adamson (Australia), shortstop Alvaro Aristy (Dominican Republic), outfielder Luis Domoromo (Venezuela), and right-handed pitchers Adis Portillo (Venezuela) and Elvin Tavarez (Dominican Republic).

"With today's signings we feel we have secured the best group of international players available," Smith said. "The recent opening of the club's state-of-the-art facility in the Dominican Republic along with today's commitments have changed the perception of the Padres internationally."

The market for international scouting is a 365-day a year business but the July 2 date kicks off many of the top signings.

Smith likens the day to Letter of Intent day in football – when all the college recruits officially pick their team.

Smith was present for at least 20 camps where 10 to 15 of the best Latin American talent would be gathered at the Padres complex in the Dominican Republic and these camps happen nearly everyday for the international scouting staff.

Last year, the Padres signed seven players on July 2 and netted 34 for the entire year. This season, they entered July 2 with 17 players already under wraps.

On Wednesday morning, Smith and his staff saw an expanded budget. They were able to sign several of the top players on the market and spent more than they ever had previously.

Portillo was considered the second best pitcher on the international market behind Michael Inoa. The 6-foot-3 Venezuelan has a fastball that hits 92 MPH with command of a curveball and the feel for a changeup – all at the tender age of 16.

"One of the most complete pitchers in Latin America with a fastball that has reached 93, Adis has great mechanics with a strong mound presence and command of three pitches," Smith said.

Domoromo is considered one of the top bats on the market. While there are some concerns about his game in the outfield, there are few who doubt his bat. Scouts have noted he has a very clean approach with big time power potential.

"Luis is one of the most complete position players available," said Smith. "He has a sound approach at the plate and the ability to hit the ball to all fields."

Aristy is a defensive first player that scouts say is so advanced they believe he could play at a major league level today – at 16. The question on Aristy is his bat. He won't have much power but has room for growth.

"We see Alvaro as the best pure shortstop in Latin America, both with his defensive ability along with his consistency at the plate," said Smith.

Adamson, an outfielder out of Australia, was also added. A left-handed hitter, Adamson, at 6-foot-1, is an athletic specimen that has immense potential.

"Corey is one of the best athletes to come out of Australia in recent history," Smith said. "He is a five-tool player with plus speed."

The 16-year-old Tavarez is a 6-2, 170-pound right-handed pitcher from San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic.

"Elvin is a well-built right-hander with a fastball that reaches 90 and good rotation on his curve ball." Smith said.

The official opening of the July 2 signing day may be done but the Padres have workouts scheduled at their complex for Thursday, as the quest to add top-end talent from the international market continues – and will every single day.

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