Cincinnati Reds continue to add talent despite limitations

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds are limited to spending $300,000 or less on any one international signing.

This is because they overspent their allotment last year.  That hasn’t stopped the Reds from acquiring international talent, however.

The most expensive signing bonus in this period is that of first baseman Leonardo Seminati.  Hailing from Italy, he is the only international signee from outside of the western hemisphere.  More importantly, if you say his name quick enough it sounds like Cincinnati.

 

Joking aside, he had a great U-18 World Cup in September in Canada where he batted .424 including a pair of home runs.  He also played for the Reds in the instructional league.  The odds, however, are against Seminati as only one Italian -born player has made the big leagues since 1962.

Despite his young age and small sample size, Seminati projects to have plus power.  That the Reds decided to pay a $135,000 signing bonus tells you all that you need to know about their belief in that projection.  That Seminati is so young may make this too aggressive of a projection.

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Seminati plays first base.  He could replace Joey Votto eventually.  By signing someone so young, Seminati likely won’t make the MLB roster for five years.

Besides Leonardo Seminati, the Cincinnati Reds have quietly signed several other international free agents.

More from Reds Prospects

Early in the period, the Reds made three signings.  The highest profile early signing was outfielder Ruben Paz of Cuba.  The Reds also signed a pair of Dominican shortstops in Luis Tejada and Sebastion Almonte.

As a twenty year old in the 2015-16 season in Cuba, Paz batted .361 in 76 games. He projects as a center fielder, but that may not happen.  Despite a high batting average and OBP Paz has limited speed and power right now.

Tejada is an interesting case.  Not only are there several minor league players with the same name, but the Reds signed a left-handed pitcher with that same name.  The plan for Tejada is the same as it was for Alfredo Rodriguez, keeping him in the Dominican League until he hits his way to rookie ball.

The Reds also signed Almonte.  They plan on using a wait and see approach with him.  All three signings don’t take effect until the 2018 baseball season.

Next: Which starters could the Reds target?

The Reds are trying to load their minors with as much talent as possible in support of Nick Senzel and Hunter Greene.  They may not be the biggest named signees.  The Reds really just want the biggest named big leaguers after developing these signees.