With the major league portion of the baseball shut down due to the MLB lockout, Saturday brought some different activity in the form of International Signing Day. It’s a day that has generally brought good fortune to the Milwaukee Brewers in recent years.
Two of the Crew’s top six prospects per MLB Pipeline, as well as a handful of their top 30 prospects, were signed as international free agents. Left-handed outfielder Hedbert Perez leads the way as the team’s fourth-ranked prospect.
Shortstop depth is also something that Milwaukee has valued within their system quite a bit these last few seasons. So, what better idea than to combine those two concepts when making their signings on Saturday?
The Brewers ended up signing two shortstops ranked among MLB Pipeline’s top 25 international prospects on Saturday.
Even before Saturday, the Brewers were rumored to be linked to No. 21 international prospect, 17-year-old shortstop Jhonny Severino from the Dominican Republic. That indeed was reported earlier today to be the case.
Per MLB Pipeline’s draft profile on Severino:
"Severino is a large-framed infielder who will start his professional career at shortstop, but he could shift to another position, likely third base, as he fills out and gets stronger.He has enough arm – projected to be above average – to play shortstop or third base. Furthermore, he has soft hands and natural instincts combined with solid defensive actions to be an average defender at either position.The switch-hitter shows an advanced approach in the box and the potential for above-average power. He can already drive the ball out of the ballpark. He’s been praised for his work ethic and overall makeup. He’s enthusiastic and eager to learn."
This morning, fans found out that he wouldn’t be the only international shortstop Milwaukee would be bringing into the fold. No. 23 international prospect, shortstop Johan Barrios of Venezuela joined Severino as a new member of the Crew.
Per the MLB Pipeline profile on the 17-year-old Barrios:
"Barrios will sign as a shortstop, but that does not mean he is going to stay there. Either way, the large-framed infielder has tons of potential on defense. He has shown solid defensive actions, quickness and is best described as a “good twitch” athlete. He could move to third base as he continues to grow and develop, but that’s to be determined. There’s plenty of room on his frame to add strength.He has a solid throwing arm so getting the ball across the diamond from the left side with some authority is not a problem.At the plate, Barrios has a compact swing with a good feel for consistent hard contact. The athletic teen already shows signs of being a plus runner. His work ethic, aptitude and overall makeup are noteworthy."
As of late Saturday afternoon, the Brewers were up to 14 total international signings according to Baseball America’s signing tracker. By position, Milwaukee signed six shortstops, five pitchers, two outfielders, and a catcher. By country, six players were from Venezuela, five were from the Dominican Republic, and three were from Nicaragua.
As we get closer to the start of the 2022 season, top prospect lists will start getting updated for the new year. We’ll see where on those lists the Brewers’ fresh new shortstop duo ends up landing.