Guanipa’s deal with Atlanta is for $2,500,000, a person with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Braves and Guanipa had been linked to one another in reports, so the signing was not a surprise.
The Braves’ bonus pool – how much they can spend during the international signing period – is $5,284,000. If the Braves sign a player for $10,000 or less, it does not count toward the bonus pool figure.
MLB Pipeline ranked Guanipa as the No. 34 international prospect in this year’s class. But he is rated as high as No. 6, which is where FanGraphs put him.
In its scouting report on Guanipa, MLB Pipeline – which listed the right-handed hitting and throwing outfielder at 5-foot-9 and 145 pounds – said he “has a strong frame and a mature body that gives him a physical presence” despite his lack of height. It’s worth noting that Baseball America listed Guanipa as 5-11.
“Guanipa is aggressive at the plate and swings with intent to do damage,” MLB Pipeline wrote in its report. “He has shown plus bat speed and the ability to drive the ball to the gaps. He should hit for average and his raw power is emerging. On defense, he displays plus instincts in the outfield. Combine his natural abilities with average to solid-average run times, and he should stay in center field.”
No one knows how any prospect will pan out, but this could be a nice signing for the Braves, who are seemingly thin on the position player side of their farm system. Earlier this offseason, they traded Justyn-Henry Malloy, who appeared to be their top position-player prospect at the time, to acquire Joe Jiménez.
The Braves have not recklessly blown through their farm system – they’re simply built to win now and have used prospects to try to do so. They’ve balanced strengthening their present with protecting their future. But they could use a couple more impact position players in their system, which is why the international signing period – specifically their signing of Guanipa – should be a positive.
Of their top 20 prospects on MLB Pipeline, only two – No. 14 Jesse Franklin and No. 16 Brandol Mezquita – are listed as outfielders. Guanipa is young and, thus, years away from the majors. But he should strengthen Atlanta’s system.
In last year’s international signing period, the Braves signed Venezuelan shortstop Diego Benitez, who is now listed as their No. 15 prospect. They reportedly gave him $2.5 million, which is what Guanipa received.
Benitez and Guanipa represent the type of player the Braves couldn’t sign until they were without limitations.
In alphabetical order, here are the Braves’ announced signings for the first day of the international signing period:
Cristóbal Abreu, RHP, Dominican Republic
Luis Arestigueta, RHP, Venezuela
Mario Báez, INF, Dominican Republic
Kelvin Carmona, RHP, Dominican Republic
Edward Cedano, RHP, Dominican Republic
Carlos Cordero, SS, Dominican Republic
Jhon Estévez, OF, Dominican Republic
Jonathan Frías, LHP, Dominican Republic
Enderson García, RHP, Dominican Republic
Jhon Gil, SS, Dominican Republic
Luis Guanipa, OF, Venezuela
Whilmer Guerra, RHP, Dominican Republic
Jean Gutíerrez, RHP, Venezuela
Hojans Hernández, C, Cuba
Carlos Monteverde, OF, Venezuela
Luis Parababire, C, Venezuela
Rudit Piña, RHP, Venezuela
José Pineda, RHP, Venezuela
Johan Ramos, RHP, Dominican Republic
Jeremy Reyes, RHP, Venezuela
Lewis Sifontes, LHP, Venezuela