Dodgers sign 5 players on first day of July 2 signing period

The 2014-15 international signing period began on July 2 (as it does every year), and the Dodgers signed the five newest prospects in the system. But first, a primer.

The international signing period, known as the July 2 period, is the time when teams can sign international prospects not subject to the MLB Draft. Like the draft, there are signing restrictions. There are bonus allotments teams cannot exceed without penalties.

The period runs from July 2 through June 15. The Dodgers have $1,963,800 to spend on bonuses for international prospects. They can acquire more slot money in trades, as they did last year in trades with the Cubs and Marlins. But they cannot acquire more than 50 percent of their original bonus allotment, or $981,900. There probably isn’t that much extra bonus space available in trade anyway. They were able to land $406,700 last year.

Here’s how it works, via the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Overage (percentage) Penalty (taxed amount)
0-4.99 75 percent tax ($73,641.75)
5-9.99 75 percent tax ($147,284.25)
One bonus of more than $500,000
10-14.99 100 percent tax ($294,569)
No bonuses more than $500,000
15-plus 100 percent tax ($294,570+)
No bonuses more than $250,000

So far, the Dodgers haven’t been linked to any big-money players like they were last year with Lucas Tirado (he signed for $1 million).

Every signing bonus that is less than $10,000 doesn’t count toward the bonus limit — similar to the $100,000 rule for selections in rounds 11-40 in the draft.

Ben Badler of Baseball America tied the Dodgers to Venezuelan outfielder Romer Cuadrado, and they did sign him to a $750,000 bonus. Cuadrado, 16, is 6’4, 195 pounds and projects as a corner outfielder with power potential. He appears to be the Dodgers’ big-money international amateur player this year.

From Badler:

 “Cuadrado, 16, is raw but has projectable righthanded power from his 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame. He’s a corner outfielder with average arm strength. Cuadrado trained with Pablo Leal.”

There isn’t much information about the right-handed power hitter available. But his frame leads me to believe he could put on significant weight (and could still grow). He’s a corner outfielder all the way.

But the first Dodgers’ signing of the period was Felix Osorio.

Osorio, 17, is from the Dominican Republic. He was actually eligible to sign last year, but no team signed him. The Dodgers gave him a $205,000 bonus. There are conflicting reports about his position. The Dominican Prospect League post on him said he’s a third baseman, but converted to the outfield. Badler listed him as an outfielder, while Sanchez tweeted he is an infielder. Either way, Osorio’s best tool is his raw power. Here’s a video of the youngster.

His swing is somewhat violent, for lack of a better term. He’s able to generate plus-bat speed, which could translate to plus-raw power. His base is about shoulder-width and he incorporates a Yasiel Puig-like leg twist, but his stride isn’t long at all. Then other times, he uses a leg kick with a minimal stride. The lower-half really does remind me of Puig (no, this kid isn’t the next Puig — probably), but his top half isn’t as similar. His swing appears to be rotational, but it can get long at times. His bat speed is able to make up for the long swing at times, but he might be prone to inside pitches early in his career. From the DPL:

“Osorio’s swing tends to get long at times, although, his swing and miss ratio isn’t bad considering he’s a power hitter with an aggressive hack. He hits the ball with authority to all fields and has good strike zone judgement. He projects to play left field due to his below average arm strength and plus raw power.”

Looking at his throws from right field in the video, there’s a ton of work to be done there. He charges the ball well enough, but he takes far too many steps and then doesn’t really uncork an impressive throw. It takes a long time for him to get rid of the ball. It’s something that will be corrected in the professional ranks, but he appears to be really raw on defense right now. At 6’3, 190 pounds, he has the physique of a future major leaguer. Left field does appear to be his future, but his bat will be his carrying tool. Who knows, if he hits well enough, he could eventually move to first base. He certainly looks athletic enough to handle third base or the outfield, so first base wouldn’t be a big stretch.

The Dodgers also signed 16-year-old Johan Calderon from the Dominican. Badler has the little information available on the youngster.

“Calderon is a 6-foot-3, 195-pound righthanded hitter who trained with Franklin Ferreira and played in the Dominican Prospect League.”

Calderon signed for $130,000. I couldn’t find any other information on the kid. Here’s the tweet from the DPL Twitter account, so we know he’s a real-life person.

Finally, the Dodgers inked two more players.

Jefry Souffront, who is battling Cuadrado for best name of this quintet, is a 6’0. 160 pound shortstop. The only information I could find on him is he played in the DPL’s Louisville Slugger Tournament Series in January 2013.

Leonardo Crawford is a lefty from Nicaragua. As Roberto Baly pointed out, Crawford agreed to the deal in May, but obviously couldn’t sign until now.

From the article, it said Crawford is 6’0 tall and, from the video, has an athletic build.

His windup is a little unorthodox to start, but he squares his body up quickly and throws almost from an over-the-top arm slot, which is rare for a lefty. The article said his fastball touches 90 MPH. He could add velocity with professional instruction. He also has a curveball and what looks to be a changeup.

Player Bonus
Romer Cuadrado $750,000
Felix Osorio $205,000
Johan Calderon $130,000
Jefry Souffront $60,000
Leonardo Crawford $47,500
Total $1,192,500 (of $1,963,800)

The Dodgers have already spent 60.7 percent of their bonus pool allotment. They can acquire more, but the amount couldn’t be applied to these deals. It’s only for future deals. They can go $97,993 over their allotted bonus pool without suffering any consequences (other than taxes). If so, then they have about $869,293 left to spend on July 2 prospects.

Much like Chad has done with the draft signing updates, we’ll keep you updated on all the Dodger international signees.

About Dustin Nosler

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Dustin Nosler began writing about the Dodgers in July 2009 at his blog, Feelin' Kinda Blue. He co-hosted a weekly podcast with Jared Massey called Dugout Blues. He was a contributor/editor at The Hardball Times and True Blue LA. 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.