On Sunday the New York Yankees got the news they would not be signing Japanese star Shohei Ohtani and now the team is left with over $3.5 million dollars to spend in international signings.
That money could go a long way to signing some pretty special prospects.
The obvious choice is exBraves prospect Kevin Maitán, who was let go by Atlanta as part of a severe punishment handed down by Major League Baseball for their misconduct in international signings.
Here is the full story:
Maitan, who was already considered the #5 Braves prospect this past year and that was on one of the most loaded Minor League systems in the country, is a shortstop and third basemen that can switch hit and has shown power from both sides.
He stumbled a bit in his start as a professional, but the five-tool baseball player is still there and could become a star in the Big Leagues someday.
As Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs stated, scouts became concerned with Maitán's frame as he was a lot thicker than when he first signed and didn't see him staying at SS.
When Longenhagen got to see Maitán, this is what he saw:
He had already thickened up quite a bit at that point and seemed likely to move to third base sooner than anticipated. But the bat speed, arm strength, and feel to hit were all as advertised. I left satisfied that Maitan, whom I had already projected to third base anyway, was as advertised.
The Venezuelan in his first year in the Rookie League hit for .241 with 2 homers and 18 RBIs in 42 games played between the Appalachian League and the Gulf Coast League.
Kevin Maitan is the 17-year-old SS prospect, who was ruled a free agent after Braves got in trouble. Yanks have a lot of money to try to sign him.— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) 3 de diciembre de 2017
Scout's 2017 reports will probably hinder Maitán's value and the Yankees could end up getting him for a lot less than first expected.
But Maitán isn't the only player the Yanks could go after and if they could sign all three they would be in excellent shape.
The next one on the list is Juan Pablo Martínez from Cuba, who is 21-year-old outfielder that has been playing in his country's National Series (Semi-Pro) since he was 16 years old.
According to Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com and MLBpipeline.com, Martínez is set to have a big showcase for MLB teams on December 8th.
Here is Baseball America's Ben Badler's scouting report:
At around 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Martinez is a lefty with a promising combination of power and speed … Based on his present ability, he’s probably ready to go to a high Class A or Double-A team.
During his five seasons in the CNS he hit for .293 with 23 home runs, 105 RBI's and 45 stolen bases on 1184 plate appearances.
Martínez is known for having a very "mature" approach at the plate, which shows in only striking out 177 times.
Another prospect Mayo mentions is Yunior Severino, also one of the Braves lost prospects.
Severino is an 18-year-old second baseman and DH, who in 2017 .270 with 3 home runs and 29 runs batted in between the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League.
This is what Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs had to say on the Dominican:
Signed for $1.9 million out of the Dominican Republic, Severino is a switch-hitting middle infielder with surprising power for his size. Scouts think his long-term defensive home is second base and are skeptical about his long-term ability to make contact. He takes big, violent swings but still hit .286/.345/.444 in the GCL this year.
All Braves prospects that were let go due to the Braves punishment will be allowed to sign starting December 5th and if the Yankees are smart, after being cut by Ohtani, they will try to steal all this talent away before the finalist for the Japanese star get a "NO".