Wilman Diaz, Jesus Galiz highlight Dodgers’ 2021 international signing class

Wilman Diaz. (via Ben Badler, Baseball America)

The Dodgers have signed two of the top international amateur free agents, both of whom are from Venezuela — a country in which the Dodgers have invested heavily over the years. Shortstop Wilman Diaz and Jesus Galiz lead the Dodgers’ signing class.

The traditional July 2 international signing day has moved to Jan. 15 due to the pandemic. It’s not known whether it’s a permanent move, but for the 2021 period, it is. It’ll end on Dec. 15.

Here are the known signings of of now:

SS Wilman Diaz, Venezuela ($2,697,500)
C Jesus Galiz, Venezuela ($812,500)
SS Rayne Doncon, Dominican Republic ($497,500)
RHP Dailoui Abad, Dominican Republic
C Carlos Avila, Venezuela
RHP Jhonny Jimenez, Dominican Republic
OF Roger Lasso, Panama
C Thairon Liranzo, Dominican Republic
RHP Missael Soto, Dominican Republic
RHP Miguel Angel Vilchez, Curacao

Update (2:47 p.m.): Dodgers announce a total of 22 players. Here are the ones not listed above:

OF Juan Alonso, Panama
OF Isaac Barreto, Colombia
RHP Miguel Bastardo, Venezuela
SS Elio Campos, Venezuela
LHP Jorge Carpintero, Venezuela
RHP Brian Diaz, Venezuela
SS Luis Guerra, Venezuela
LHP Sebastian Jimenez, Venezuela
RHP Maximo Martinez, Venezuela
RHP Kevin Ramirez, Venezuela
RHP Christian Romero, Mexico
RHP Pedro Santillan, Mexico

The Dodgers can spend up to $5,348,100 in this signing period, with more than $4 million already committed. Only bonuses of greater than $10,000 count toward the bonus pool. There will be more signings either later today or, more likely, over the next 11 months. Here’s what we know about these literal children, beginning with the two biggest signings in Diaz and Galiz.

SS Wilman Diaz

The Dodgers had been linked to him for quite some time. He signed for just under $2.7 million. For context, Diego Cartaya and Luis Rodriguez signed for $2.5 million and $2.7 million, respectively, so it shows the Dodgers have a lot of faith in Diaz. Here’s what the experts have to say about him.

Baseball America

“The Dodgers signed the top player in Venezuela in 2018 (catcher Diego Cartaya) and in 2019 (Luis Rodriguez). In 2020, they’re again expected to sign a player in the mix as the country’s top prospect in Diaz, who trains with Alexi Quiroz. The Dodgers have followed Diaz closely for years, having also signed Cartaya and 2019 catcher Yeiner Fernandez from the same program. Has has an athletic, projectable frame and high offensive upside, performing well in games with a loose, easy swing, good bat speed, a mature approach and big power.”

ESPN

“Right behind Colmenarez as one of the best pure hitters in this class, with solid game performance. Also has a better shot to stick at shortstop, with more physical projection and raw athleticism than Colmenarez.”

FanGraphs

“His frame isn’t as angular and projectable as the other top-of-the class infielders but Diaz is the best pure hitter among them. While there’s not overt power projection on the frame, you can project more future in-game power from Diaz because he’s an explosive rotational athlete whose backswing threatens to clip the mask of the catcher behind him. He’s arguably a bit safer than some of the other top amateur shortstops in our international rankings because of how he’s hit in games.”

MLB Pipeline

“The athletic Diaz has five-tool potential, and the sky is the limit. Ultimately, it’s his combination of present ability to hit and future upside at a premium position that make him the top teen in the international class of 2020.

Diaz shows a plus hit tool with excellent bat speed and a knack for recognizing pitches. There’s a natural loft to his pull side, but he has also shown the ability to drive the ball the other way with authority. He developed his bat tool and made a name for himself while playing for Venezuela’s youth teams back home in Aragua with a series of big hits. There’s also plus power projection.

On defense, Diaz shows plus arm potential and plus actions at shortstop. He’s a smooth fielder that can make plays to both sides. He can also run, and Diaz has been clocked at 6.4 seconds in the timed 60-yard run and has translated the speed into games as a good baserunner with basestealing potential. The teenager is long and lean and is expected to add even more strength as his body fills out and he continues to mature.”

FanGraphs gives Diaz a future value of 45 (and No. 9 in the Dodgers’ system), while Pipeline rates his future tools as follows:

  • 60 Hit
  • 55 Power
  • 50 Run
  • 55 Defense
  • 55 Arm

That’s … impressive. Of course, a lot can change with a 17-year-old, but it’s fun to dream. Here’s some video.

C Jesus Galiz

Galiz, 17, was linked to the Yankees for the longest time, but either he changed his mind or the Yankees tried to change the terms of the agreement. Either way, the Dodgers swooped in and landed him for a shade over $800k.

Baseball America

“As usual, several of the top catchers in the class are from Venezuela, including Galiz, who for a long time was expected to sign with the Yankees, but now appears ticketed for the Dodgers instead. He’s an athletic catcher who is flexible and agile behind the plate. He has calm hands, earns high marks for his receiving and baseball IQ, with a line-drive, gap to gap approach and the physical projection to grow into more power once he gets stronger.”

ESPN

“Galiz was linked to the Yankees earlier in the period, but that deal dissolved and the Dodgers swooped in. He, like (Hans) Montero, also doesn’t have huge now power, but has the physical projection for it to come, with current hitting and catching ability as his calling cards.”

FanGraphs

“Every year it seems like there is a top-of-the-class, well-rounded Venezuelan catcher lauded for his defensive acumen, and this year it’s Galiz. He’s a physical young man with plus raw arm strength and a solid-but-unexplosive contact/power blend. Teenage catching, no matter where it comes from, is volatile, but Galiz is a potential everyday big leaguer.”

MLB Pipeline

“Galiz dreamed of being the next Gleyber Torres and for most of his childhood, he followed in his countryman’s footsteps as a middle infielder. All that changed two years ago when he began working behind the plate. His quick feet, strong arm, high baseball IQ and the overall athleticism that he displayed as a middle infielder has helped him become the top catching prospect on the international market for 2020. He still has the soft hands of a middle infielder, but now he uses them to receive and block pitches. The internal clock and quick release he used to throw runners out from shortstop now make him a threat behind the plate. Galiz also shows advanced skills at the plate. The teen features a quick and compact swing with the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He also projects to have plus power in the future. Galiz still models his overall game, especially in the batter’s box, after Torres. He’s an average runner now, but he projects to be a solid runner in the future.”

FanGraphs has him No. 18 in the system with a 40+ FV. Pipeline is a little more bullish on him:

  • 55 Hit
  • 55 Power
  • 50 Run
  • 55 Defense
  • 55 Arm

Honestly, sounds a little like present-day Will Smith, but we’re a loooong way from that being anything close to reality. Here’s some video.

Here’s what I found on some of the other players in the class.

SS Rayne Doncon

Stance is a bit noisy, but the leg kick and wiry strength might produce good bat speed as he matures, physically.

OF Roger Lasso

Lasso is 14 years old in that second video in which he hits an absolute bomb.

C Carlos Avila

Just another teenage catcher from Venezuela. It seems he hits left-handed and might have that #latinpower.

About Dustin Nosler

Dustin Nosler
Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosts a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He is a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times. He graduated from California State University, Sacramento, with his bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in digital media. While at CSUS, he worked for the student-run newspaper The State Hornet for three years, culminating with a 1-year term as editor-in-chief. He resides in Stockton, Calif.