TigsTown MLN: Tigers Sign Seven Teenagers

With opening day of the international signing period in the rear view mirror, TigsTown is the first to report who the Tigers signed early on this year. Up to now, the Tigers have signed seven players; two from the Dominican Republic, and five from Venezuela. Check inside to get all the details on these seven new prospects.

The Tigers are reporting shortstop Javier Azcona as one of their seven signees from signing period. While I have yet to sort out the confusion, TigsTown had reported Azcona as having signed much earlier. There are many signing restrictions that are not well-publicized about the international signing period, so there may have been some snafus or technicalities that delayed this signing.

Two other shortstops have been signed, both from Venezuela. Six-foot, 150 pound Luis Cortez will make his VSL debut in 2009 as a raw 17-year old. The right-handed hitter has a lanky frame with plenty of room for added strength down the line. Joining him will be another six-footer, Dixon Machado. Born February 2, 1992, Machado will also debut in 2009 as a 17-year old prospect. Also swinging from the right side, early rumblings indicate Machado may project for a touch more speed and less power than Cortez.

The only other position player signed to date has been Venezuelan catcher Gabriel Purroy. Another 16-year old that will debut next season, Purroy is a 5-foot-10, 160 pound backstop with some catch and throw skills and some promise with the bat. Gabriel will have to compete with a multitude of other catchers for time on the field in the VSL next year.

Dominican righty Greg Morillo stands in on the mound with a 6-2, 185 pound frame that projects for some good velocity down the line. Another player that will make his debut as a 17-year old in 2009, Morillo is rumored to have good plane on his fastball, and two other pitches that have shown some promise.

The final two prospects signed to date are both Venezuelan hurlers, with one spinning from each side of the rubber. Lefty Juan Espinoza is on the smaller side at just 5-11 and 155 pounds, but he has a quick arm and some promising stuff for a southpaw. On the other side, right-hander Manuel Morandi is already an imposing figure on the hill. Standing at a menacing 6-foot-4 and 180 pounds, he generates good downward plane on his fastball with some life and velocity. He must improve his secondary pitches and command, but the soon-to-be 17-year old has the frame to add more velocity and become an interesting prospect down the line.

Additional signings are likely to take place through the late summer and into the winter months, so check back with TigsTown for news of all the latest signings, and for full scouting reports on all the newest prospects.

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