After making making a big splash in the 2015-2016 international free agent period by signing shortstops Andres Gimenez and Gregory Guerrero, the Mets were much more restrained during the 2016-2017 period. The highest known signing bonus the Mets handed out was $300,000 to shortstop Sebastian Espino, followed by a pair of $200,000 bonuses for outfielder Ezequiel Pena and infielder Luis Santana, and a $150,000 for outfielder Jean Carlos Soto.
According to Baseball America’s Ben Badler, the Mets have been linked to a pair of Dominicans, shortstop Ronny Mauricio and outfielder Adrian Hernandez, who will be performing in Major League Baseball’s annual international amateur showcase. The showcase, which features 15- and 16-year-olds from countries around the Caribbean—primarily Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Panama, and Venezuela—and Brazil, gives scouts the opportunity to watch the youngest crop of players perform up close and to assess their baseball futures.
Mauricio, born April 4, 2001, is an athletic, switch-hitting shortstop with an advanced approach at the plate. At six feet two inches and 165 lbs., he is expected to fill in and add additional muscle. In addition to being an advanced hitter, Mauricio is smooth in the field, with soft hands, a very quick glove/hand transition, and the ability to accurately throw from a variety of arm angles.
Hernandez, born February 8, 2001, is an athletic outfielder with five-tool potential. At the plate, he has shown the ability to consistently square up on the ball and drive it all over the field, for both average and power. With his a plus arm and plus speed—the youngster from Santo Domingo is among the fastest in the showcase Dominican Prospect League—he should remain in center field for years to come.
The Mets will have a hard cap of $4.75 million to spend, set by the new Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in December 2016 by Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Player’s Association. According to Badler, it is believed that Hernandez will cost upwards of $1 million—at least.