Braves sign a top international prospect in shortstop Jose Perdomo

Credit: Jason Getz /

Credit: Jason Getz /

In the first of a series of photos posted to his Instagram account, Jose Perdomo is signing his contract to play for the Braves. In another, the Venezuelan shortstop’s back is to the camera and he is pointing to the back of his Braves jersey – which says “Perdomo” above the “13,” a number used by Ronald Acuña Jr., the face of Venezuelan baseball and the reigning National League MVP.

“Thanks for so much, God,” Perdomo wrote in Spanish for the caption. “Let the show begin.”

On Monday, the first day of the international signing period, Atlanta agreed to terms with Perdomo, who received a $5 million signing bonus, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. This bonus, a club record on the international market, is the largest for a player in this year’s international class.

That $5 million is a large chunk of Atlanta’s $5,925,000 bonus pool, which is how much the Braves can spend during the international signing period. Signings of $10,000 or less do not count toward this bonus pool figure.

Perdomo’s bonus is the richest in the international signing period in Braves history, and according to Baseball America, the largest ever for a player born in Venezuela. For context on how big this bonus was: In 2014, Acuña got a $100,000 signing bonus from the Braves.

Perdomo is one of the top players in his class. MLB Pipeline ranked Perdomo, who is 17 years old, as the No. 3 prospect for this year’s international signing period.

The Braves also signed Juan Espinal, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic, and gave him a $440,000 bonus.

Perdomo and Espinal received the only notable signing bonuses from the Braves in this class. They were two of the 12 international signees announced by the club, and accounted for the majority of the team’s bonus pool for this international period.

Scouts Carlos Sequera and Jesus Simancas are credited with signing Perdomo. Sequera and Carlos Perez are the signing scouts for Espinal.

The Braves loved Perdomo’s natural ability to hit, and they believe his bat is really special. Perdomo displays maturity in his approach. And his defensive ability is good enough to stick at shortstop, which they also viewed a plus. Perdomo is 5-foot-11, 180 pounds.

Perdomo could be near the top of Atlanta’s list of top prospects when the dust settles. He might be the club’s top position player prospect after Vaughn Grissom went to Boston in the Chris Sale trade. MLB Pipeline’s top six Braves prospects are pitchers, so the system could use an infusion of bats.

The 17-year-old Espinal, who is 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, is seen as a physical specimen. He profiles like a slugger. His bat wasn’t as complete as some others in the class, which is why he didn’t receive a larger bonus. But makes enough contact for his power to be on display.

One possible under-the-radar signing: Anferni Gonzalez, a right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic who signed for $60,000. He is 6-foot-4 and profiles as a starting pitcher. He turns 18 years old later this month.

In their efforts scouting Venezuela, it probably doesn’t hurt the Braves that Acuña is the face of Venezuelan baseball and now is the reigning National League MVP. Younger players in his home country idolize him.

Last year, the Braves went to Venezuela for their top international signing: Outfielder Luis Guanipa received a $2.5 million signing bonus. A year later, he’s the Braves’ No. 10 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. They followed with Perdomo, who could be an impact bat in the future.

As it stands, Ignacio Alvarez, Atlanta’s No. 7 prospect on MLB Pipeline, is the highest-rated position player in the organization’s farm system. Perdomo could be ranked higher when an updated list is released this year.

For a few years, the Braves faced sanctions on the international market because of violations committed by the previous regime. This year marks their third international signing period free of restrictions, and the Perdomo signing served as a reminder that the Braves can be a force internationally.

In an interview last year, Jonathan Cruz, the Braves’ director of Latin American scouting, said his team works closely with president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos. Cruz said Anthopoulos’ aim is to net the top player in the international class each year.

Time will tell, but in signing Perdomo to a record bonus, the Braves signaled their aggressiveness on the international market.

Here’s a list of the signees announced by the team on the first day of the international signing period:

Jose Perdomo, SS, Venezuela

Juan Espinal, OF, Dominican Republic

Anferni Gonzalez, RHP, Dominican Republic

Rafael Lasorsa, LHP, Venezuela

Fernando Duarte, RHP, Venezuela

Yander Pinero, RHP, Venezuela

Noslen Marquez, RHP, Venezuela

Jorge Nunez, RHP, Venezuela

Francique Kendy, RHP, Dominican Republic

Juan Mateo, INF, Dominican Republic

Isaac Osorio, OF, Dominican Republic

Gabriel Cesa, OF, Dominican Republic