Orioles give franchise-record bonus to SS Luis Almeyda as international signing period begins: ‘The seed is starting to pop up’

Looking back just more than four years ago, around when he was hired as the Orioles’ senior director of international scouting, Koby Perez believes the organization planted a seed. On Sunday, it continued to sprout.

The Orioles’ start to each international signing period under Perez and executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias has been record-setting for the organization in quantity, total investment or individual signing bonuses. That remained the case in the Orioles’ fourth international signing class since Perez entered the organization in January 2019, with a 27-player class highlighted by the recipient of the largest signing bonus given to a Latin American amateur in team history.

Although the size of the club’s bonus pool prevented it from exceeding last year’s collection of talent totaling $6.3 million in bonuses, Baltimore signed Luis Almeyda, a 16-year-old shortstop who spent the past year in the Dominican Republic, to a franchise-record $2.3 million bonus, a source with direct knowledge of the agreement confirmed to The Baltimore Sun. All four of the Orioles’ seven-figure bonuses in this area have come in the past three signing classes, including outfielder Braylin Tavera ($1.7 million) in 2022 and catcher Samuel Basallo ($1.3 million) and infielder Maikol Hernández ($1.2 million) in 2021.

“It takes time,” Perez said. “It’s like when you’re growing a plant. You plant the seed, you can’t see anything. And then once the flowers start blooming, it becomes real pretty and nice. I feel that we’re at where the seed is starting to pop up and come up from under the ground, and hopefully, in the near future, it’ll be a nice, big flower. We feel really, really good about the work that’s been done.”

Like Perez, Almeyda grew up in New Jersey, and he was considered a well-regarded prospect in the 2025 draft class before his family moved to the Dominican Republic to be with his ailing grandmother. Now, the potential five-tool infielder will be in his third professional season when the 2025 draft takes place. A right-handed hitter, Almeyda — who goes by his middle name, Ayden, with those he’s close to — is listed at 6 feet 3 and 180 pounds, size that could lead to an eventual move to third base. His power potential would make him a fit at either position on the left side of the infield.

Unlike many international prospects, Almeyda has the advantages of already speaking English and having experience living in the United States. That should help his transition to professional baseball, though Perez said the organization will do what’s best for his development in determining the level at which he begins his career.

“Off the bat, I knew the Orioles was the organization for me,” said Almeyda, who the organization first saw at a tournament in Mexico. “I wanted to always develop. My decision was how I want to develop as a player, and I know the Baltimore Orioles have one of the best — I think the best — farm system, and for this organization, …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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