The Braves spent $7.75 million Saturday to sign a pair of 16-year-old Venezuelans, shortstop Kevin Maitan and catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, the big-ticket items in a spree of 13 free-agent signings by the team on the first day of the international signing period.
So where do Maitan and Gutierrez go now?
“We need to get their visas done,” Braves general manager John Coppolella said. “The hope is that we can bring them to instructional league (in October), and then what they would do, kind of like our top two (international free-agent) signings from last year, Derian Cruz and Christian Pache, you hope that they start in 2017 in the Gulf Coast League.”
The GCL is the Florida rookie league the Braves participate in, with their team playing and training at the Braves’ spring-training and minor league headquarters in Lake Buena Vista outside Orlando.
“And where it goes from there, we’ll see,” Coppolella said. “I think when you look at Andruw Jones hit two home runs in the World Series at age (19), both these kids are 16. I’m not saying they’re going to hit two home runs in the 2018 World Series, but we think that they’re special talents that won’t take six or seven years. They could be here fairly quickly and they could have a big impact on the Braves.”