Happy International Signing Day! Today, January 15th, is the opening to the 2023 International Signing Period, where every MLB team can begin to sign players as young as 16 years old from countries around the world that aren't subject to the regular MLB Draft. Basically, anywhere that's not the US, Canada, or Puerto Rico.
Most of the players that are signed in this period are from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. They are eligible to sign once they reach 16 years of age and many are scouted and have verbal agreements in place well ahead of time.
This year, the Brewers are in the group with the largest signing pool money allotment, with $6,366,900 to work with to sign as many players as they want.
The Brewers have done some excellent work in the international ranks in recent years. They have a strong foothold in Venezuela and are starting to see some of their efforts come to fruition. The Brewers Top 30 prospects list is filled with recent international signees, including RHP Abner Uribe, OF Carlos Rodriguez, SS Johan Barrios, SS Eduardo Garcia, OF Hedbert Perez, SS Daniel Guilarte, OF Hendry Mendez, OF Luis Lara, C Jeferson Quero, and the Crew's top prospect, OF Jackson Chourio.
Now they have a couple more names to add to the list.
The Milwaukee Brewers have signed three top international prospects to lead their 2023 International signing class.
Both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America had three ranked players being signed by the Brewers. The players are Dominican OF Yophery Rodriguez, Venezuelan SS Filippo Di Turri, and Venezuelan SS Kevin Ereu.
MLB Pipeline had Yophery Rodriguez ranked 22nd in their class while Baseball America had him ranked 34th, although BA puts their list in order of expected signing bonus size, rather than ranking on talent. Kevin Ereu was ranked 35th (Pipeline) and 26th (BA) while Filippo Di Turri was a consensus 33rd ranked international prospect on both sites.
Yophery Rodriguez is a left-handed hitting outfielder that is regarded as one of the best pure hitters in the class. He's athletic, has a good feel for the strike zone, doesn't chase, and has some power he should be able to tap into as he develops as well. Basically he has all the traits the Brewers have been targeting in the domestic Draft in recent years. Rodriguez can stick in centerfield as well.
Filippo Di Turri is a switch-hitting shortstop, and those are always fun to have. Similar to Rodriguez, scouting reports say that Di Turri is an advanced hitter with a good feel for the strike zone with a swing that's smooth as butter. He's also an excellent defender and has the glove to play anywhere on the infield. He has the arm strength for third base if he gets pushed off the position.
Kevin Ereu is a gifted defender at shortstop that should be able to stick at the position long-term. He plays with energy and athleticism. At the plate, the tools are there but they seem to be a bit more raw than the other top prospects. Ereu has some raw power to tap into and he can hit the ball to all fields, which is an important trait. Like the others, Ereu has a good feel for the strike zone and mature approach at the plate.
The Brewers clearly have a type and they have a strategy that they follow in the international market. They get usually 2-3 guys are moderately highly rated, they aren't top 10 international prospects, but they're in the 15-35 range usually. This strategy allows the Brewers to spread their money among more players to give themselves better chances of finding a player that hits.
These are just three players, and there's likely to be more than 30 international signees the Brewers bring in when it's all said and done. Most of them will never make it to the big leagues, some of them may never even make it past the Dominican Summer League. You never know who in these classes will turn out to be a great player. It'll be years before we see any of them get close to the big leagues.
Rodriguez, Di Turri, and Ereu are the three highest rated players in the Brewers class. That's usually where the stars come from, but it could be anyone.