Name: Willy Fañas
Weight: 190 lbs.
Acquired: IFA, January 15, 2022 (San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic)
2022 Stats: 32 G, 101 AB, .257/.330/.297, 26 H, 2 2B, 1 3B, 0 HR, 10/13 SB, .329 BABIP (Foreign Rookie)
Initially connected to the Los Angeles Angels, their unofficial agreement with Dominican outfielder Willy Fañas fell apart and the 17-year-old went unsigned during the 2020-2021 international signing period. The outfielder filed a lawsuit in Dominican courts seeking $17 million in damages for the broken verbal agreement for $1.8 million made years earlier, when he was 14. In the meantime, he kept in baseball shape and showcased for teams for the upcoming signing period. The Mets stepped in, offered terms to Fañas that he and his family found acceptable, and ended up signing him for $1.5 million when the next signing period began on January 15, 2022. He made his professional debut with the DSL Mets later in the year and the 18-year-old outfielder hit .257/.330/.297 in 32 games with 0 home runs, 10 stolen bases in 13 attempts, and 11 walks to 24 strikeouts.
Fañas has a well-proportioned 6’2”, 190-pound frame that suggests future growth. He stands square at the plate, holding his hands high and swinging with a high leg kick. A switch-hitter, Fañas logged more at-bats as a left-handed hitter than a right-handed hitter but had better results as a right-hander than a left-hander this past season. His swing is short but packs a surprising punch; he shows good batting practice power and should be able to manifest it in-game in the years to come. His eye is advanced for his age and level and he has a good sense of the strike zone, keeping his strikeouts down.
His carrying tool at this point is his speed. He is an above-average runner, allowing him to stretch singles into doubles, take extra bases on the base paths, and steal bases. His speed also helps him in the outfield, giving him enough range to play center field. He might slow down as he ages and puts on more muscle mass, but should he ever need to be moved off of the position, he has an above-average arm that fits in right field.
While Fañas is an interesting player, more interesting will be the results of his lawsuit against the Angels. Teams reneging on verbal agreements made with players and costing them hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, is the biggest issue in the way the currently unregulated international system operates. If any kind of legal precedent is set, that will have a bigger impact on baseball than if Fañas becomes the next Babe Ruth.
You can essentially copy-paste the Simon Juan comment here. Fañas remains a high-value, high-upside IFA signing about whom we know very little and have heard little buzz on. More data in 2023 could drive him way up this list or off it entirely.
Another highly touted 2022 IFA signing for the Mets, Fañas spent all of the 2022 season in the Dominican Summer League where he generally struggled, at least on paper. Like fellow 2022 IFA signing Simon Juan, Fañas is still extremely young and raw as a prospect, and we’ll get to know him much better next season when he presumably makes his stateside debut.
Similar to Simon Juan, he was signed in the same class for $1.5m. He was a little better in the Dominican Summer League, and has a projectable frame, but like any other international free agent, his future is hard to know as of today.