Today is the first day of Major League Baseball’s 2023 international signing period, and the Cincinnati Reds have signed shortstop Alfredo Duno to the highest bonus contract they’ve ever given a non-Cuban player on the international market. The official signing was first reported by El Emergente’s Marcos Grunfeld, though we’ve known for nearly two years that the Reds were going to sign the Venezuelan catcher. They also report a $3,100,000 signing bonus.
While I will likely have signing bonuses for most of this week’s signing class, it is my policy not to release that information until it is released elsewhere due to safety concerns that have unfortunately plagued some players and their families in recent years.
Among Venezuelan players, the bonus given to Alfredo Duno this year is the second highest. Ethan Salas, another catcher, is signing with the San Diego Padres and is by most publications the top prospect in the 2023 international signing class, and his signing bonus seems to reflect that.
As for Alfredo Duno, his signing marks the second year in a row that the Reds have signed a guy who is considered a top-five pick. Last year, they signed Venezuelan Ricardo Cabrera, which at the time was also a new record for the most money paid to a non-Cuban player on the international market.
Earlier this week, I wrote about the signing deadline and that Duno was the only player the team needed to sign who was currently among the “top 50 prospects” in the class. Of course, there is a reason that there are quotation marks around those words. most of these guys haven’t worked for any team they haven’t signed with today in probably two years. They might have been top 50 prospects when they were 14 or 15, but now they’re 16 or 17, and a lot could have changed since then.
That said, the reports on the Duno are pretty good. He has tremendous bat speed, size, current power and future power. He’s a good runner, and that’s incredibly rare for a catcher. There’s some question about his swing, but we’ll probably have to wait and see how that plays out, given that he hasn’t played any games yet and these reports are about what amounts to a sophomore in high school. . Defensively, he has a very strong arm, good hands and athleticism.
We’ll have more on the other signings later on Sunday as most of them become official.