The Royals have signed several international free agents from this year’s J2 Class. In Jesse Sanchez’s article for MLB.com, on the Royals website, he quotes Rene Fransisco as cautioning the Royals fans to be careful of Carlos Beltran comparisons for Erick Pena but then turns around and throws out an Andruw Jones comparison to Roger Leyton. What?!
“He’s more of a true center fielder. He has very easy power. And defensively, very gifted. It’s probably unfair to throw names out there, but someone like Andruw Jones comes to mind when you’re talking comparisons.”
-Rene Fransisco quoted from KCRoyals.com here in this article.
If these two guys really turn into their comparisons that’s an absurd haul for the Royals. Carlos Beltran and Andruw Jones both had outstanding careers in the big leagues. Jones broke into the big leagues as a 19-year-old with the Atlanta Braves hitting 434 career home runs, robbing home runs left and right winning 10 Gold Gloves, posting a career 62.8 WAR over 17 seasons. In 2005, Jones hit 51 home runs. He added 41 the next season. Beltran added 2,725 hits and 435 home runs of his own over his 20-year career. Beltran also stole 312 bases and posted a career WAR of 69.6. You’d obviously be thrilled with two careers anything close to that from Pena and Leyton.
Pena is well-known around international circles for his abilities. He has easy power and runs well as well as posting high batting averages. Pena does not strike out often and is expected to be a strong defensive player. Pena speaks fluent English which should hasten his push to the majors. He signed for $3.8 million.
Leyton is more likely to stick in CF. He is a strong defensive player who projects to have a solid bat as well.
The Royals have also signed SS Lizandro Rodriguez. Rodriguez is a switch-hitter who has a line drive swing. He is very athletic.
The Royals have signed C Meiver Borges. Borges is a strong kid whose throws have strong carry. He has very quick feet and a quick release. He has quick hands and projects to have some power although he looks like he hits a lot of line drives right now.
Baseball America is reporting the Royals have also signed SS Jorge Morales, LHP Jose Castillo, and SS Jorge Celado. A lot of times, players commit to a team and agree to sign in advance. Information can be hard to find on a lot of players and many seemingly unknown guys turn into solid MLB players.
MLB.com is reporting the Royals are expected to sign OF Jairo Mendez and C Aldrin Lucas as well. There will be more guys to sign and we’ll get their names out there as we get more info.
These kids are both 16-years-old so be very careful about dreaming on their future. They still have a long way to go and face an uphill battle to actually make it to the Royals active roster.
Photo Credits: Ben Badler (@BenBadler)