The Dodgers opened baseball’s international signing period Saturday by making two highly regarded additions to their farm system in 17-year-old prospects Samuel Munoz and Accimia Morales, according to a person with knowledge of the signings.
Even though the Dodgers had what was tied for the league’s smallest pool of international signing money this year, Munoz and Morales headline a class that is expected to include more than 30 new players.
Munoz, a left-handed hitter from the Dominican Republic, was ranked as the seventh-best overall prospect available in this year’s international class by MLB Pipeline, which projected him to develop into a power hitter with enough athleticism defensively to eventually play in either in the infield or outfield.
Morales, a right-handed pitcher from Venezuela, was the No. 37 overall prospect, becoming the latest in a growing list of Venezuelan products to join the Dodgers in recent international signing periods.
The previous three years, the team had signed the country’s top-ranked prospect, starting with the addition of catcher Diego Cartaya — now considered to be the club’s top prospect — in 2018.
Morales was the 13th-ranked Venezuelan player this year. Seven of the 15 total players who had already agreed to a deal with the Dodgers as of Saturday afternoon are from Venezuela, according to Baseball America.
The Dodgers only had about $4.64 million in signing pool money to use in the international period this year, tied with the Toronto Blue Jays for the lowest among MLB clubs (other teams had pools ranging from $5.1 million to almost $6.3 million). The Dodgers lost $500,000 from their pool as a penalty for signing Trevor Bauer last offseason because he was a free agent who had rejected a qualifying offer from his previous team.
This year marked the second straight international signing period to begin in mid-January, as opposed its traditional start date in July, a change originally prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because there are no major league contracts involved, MLB’s current lockout did not impact the opening of this year’s period, which will run until mid-December.
Angels hone in on top 16-year-old prospects
The Angels signed two 16-year-olds rated among MLB Pipeline’s top 50 international prospects: Venezuelan outfielder Nelson Rada (29th) and Dominican outfielder Randy de Jesus (38th).
The 5-foot-10, 160-pound Rada, who agreed to a $1.8-million bonus, is a speedy left-handed hitter who has shown flashes of emerging power. The 6-4, 210-pound De Jesus, who agreed to a $1.2-million bonus, is a right-handed hitter with promising power and advanced contact skills.
Other signings for the Angels, who have an international bonus pool of $5.179 million, are Venezuelan catchers David Laverde and Eliezer Rivero, infielders Kevyn Castillo and Luis Rodriguez, and left-handed pitchers Manuel Cazorla and Alejandro Rodriguez; Cuban right-hander Sadiel Baro and catcher Jonathan Linares, Dominican right-hander Nixon Encarnacion, shortstop Capri Ortiz and outfielder Wilifer Estrella; and Panamanian right-hander Marco Vega and left-hander David Lopez.
Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.