For the second year in a row, the Dodgers international free agent bonus pool amount is tied for the second-lowest in all of baseball. In 2022, they had just $4.644 million to spend, and despite that, they landed a deep and exciting group of prospects — indeed, four of the newest teenagers in the org ranked 34th or higher in FanGraphs most recent writeup of the system, and one even made the top 10.
So, despite the fact that the Dodgers rolled into the Jan. 15 signing period with a bonus pool of just $4.144 million, they landed a pair of headliners who both rank in the Top 25 at MLB Pipeline along with a host of others.
Vargas is a 6-foot-3, 170-pound shortstop from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, who is ranked third in the class by MLB Pipeline. He was formerly a switch-hitter but is reportedly righty only in the box now, and the projection here is huge, as he is already showing the ability to both pull his hands in on pitches inside, and shoot the ball the other way:
There’s some division as to whether someone with a frame like this at such a young age will be able to stay at short as he fills out, but he moves well, has the arm, and third base is still a solid fallback option:
FanGraphs tagged Vargas with a future value grade of 45, which should see him land somewhere between ninth and 16th in a stacked Dodger farm system.
Lantigua is a 6-foot-3, 180-pound outfielder from Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, who is ranked 23rd in the class at MLB Pipeline. Although he is a capable defender, he has a higher ceiling offensively, as he’s an explosive rotational athlete who is already getting into triple digits with his exit velos, and that’s with plus bat to ball:
There’s some nascent plate discipline, though Lantigua can get a bit aggressive at times. Defensively, they’ll give him a shot in CF, but he’s likely to outgrow it and move into a corner.
At the close of the day, the Dodgers have signed a total of 13 prospects:
- RHP Erick Batista, Dominican Republic
- RHP Luis Carias, Venezuela
- SS Harold Gonzalez, Venezuela
- SS Javier Herrera, Venezuela
- RHP Anderson Jerez, Dominican Republic
- SS Elias Medina, Dominican Republic
- SS Daniel Mielcarek, Dominican Republic
- C Eduardo Quintero, Venezuela
- RHP Samuel Sanchez, Venezuela
- RHP Jesus Tillero, Venezuela
- RHP Robinson Ventura, Venezuela
Enjoy your Sunday, folks.