With the official opening of Major League Baseball’s international signing period on Sunday, the Mariners announced their first wave of players signed as undrafted free agents.
Teams usually have agreements with players months or even years in advance, but players cannot be signed until they are 16 years old.
The Mariners entered this signing period with $6,366,900 in bonus money, meaning they are capped at that total for signing bonuses.
“As always, the first day of the International Signing Period is a joyous occasion that serves as an annual reminder of why we, as scouts, love what we do,” Mariners director of international scouting Frankie Toh Jr. said in a news release. release “To witness the moment when these young players, from different countries and backgrounds, achieve their dreams, taking that first step towards their ultimate professional goal…
Seattle’s 2023 international class is headlined by Felinin Celeste out of Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, who is one of the Mariners’ highest-rated internationals.
Celeste, 17, is rated the No. 2 overall prospect in the international class by MLB Pipeline and the No. 3 prospect by Baseball America and FanGraphs.
A switch hitter with a high ceiling, Celeste is considered a potential five-tool (hitting skill, hitting for power, speed, defensive prowess and arm strength) player.
Celesten rose to prominence in the Dominican Republic as a 14-year-old due to his advanced swing mechanics from both sides of the plate.
As he grew to his current height (6-1) and weight (178 pounds), Celesten showed power potential at the plate as well as added athleticism and power.
According to a report from Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, the Mariners and Celeste agreed to a $4.7 million bonus. It is the most in the club’s history for an international player. By comparison, Julio Rodriguez, who was ranked No. 6 in his class, signed for $1.75 million in 2017 as a 16-year-old.
“Getting to know Fellini as a person was as rewarding as getting to know him as a player,” said Thom Jr. “The charm, confidence and grin he displays between the lines is complemented by a gentle, polite and thoughtful demeanor off the field. Felnin certainly has all the ingredients to eventually develop into an impactful member of the Mariners organization in every sense of the word.”
Baseball publications raved about Celeste.
Baseball from America. “That combination of hitting ability, tools and athleticism at a premium position makes Celeste the best shortstop in this class for many scouts.”
From MLB Pipeline. “When you consider his tools and skills, this teenager may have the highest ceiling of any international shortstop in a decade.”
In addition to Celeste, the Mariners signed six other players on Sunday.
Kelvin Alcantara, OF, Dominican Republic
Tony’s scouting report. Alcantara, 17, is a 6-foot, left-handed hitter out of the Dominican Republic. He is one of the best hitters in the signing class to go along with solid defensive skills.
Delfry Carrasco, INF, Dominican Republic
Tony’s scouting report. Carrasco, 18, is a 5-foot-9 infielder who has the versatility to play multiple positions in the outfield. At the plate, the lefty has a base approach.
Sebastian De Andrade, C, Venezuela
Tony’s scouting report. De Andrade, 16, is a 5-foot-5 catcher from Venezuela who is being touted as one of the more aggressive hitters in the 2023 international class. He is known for his solid defensive tools behind the plate.
Kendall Mezan, RHP, Nicaragua
Tony’s scouting report. Meza, 17, is a 6-foot, right-handed pitcher out of Nicaragua. He is a power pitcher, already sitting in the mid-to-low 90s with his fastball at 17 years old, with potential for high velocity in the future. He pitches with an uptempo, aggressive delivery with a solid breaking ball that serves as his best secondary pitch.
Rudy Navarro, RHP, Dominican Republic
Tony’s scouting report. Navarro, 16, is a 6-foot, right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic. He is a good athlete who currently relies on a solid fastball and changeup mix while working on developing his slider.
Kay Robles, OF, Dominican Republic
Tony’s scouting report. Robles, 18, is a 6-foot-6 player out of the Dominican Republic who is one of the big players in the 2023 international class. He’s a unique athlete with above-average speed and surprising raw power, projecting as a center fielder with the tools for the position.