The international signing period is one of the most exciting times of the year for dynasty managers. Names like Acuna, Rodriguez, Franco, and Guerrero have managers trying to strike gold in first-year player drafts with the next wave incoming. This is a series that I want to do each year to help dynasty managers get a leg up and lock down the Jackson Chourio, Eury Perez, and Francisco Alvarez types before they become untouchable assets. These are my top 50 international prospect rankings for 2023 with strictly the J-15 signings. Players like Senga, Fujinami, and Yoshida will be a separate article.
The season is not here yet, but why not get a head start and jump in a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!
The Top 10
Ethan Salas, C SDP
With some of the loudest tools, Ethan Salas has come in as the top signee in the 2023 international class. The bat-to-ball skills are graded out to be plus for Salas and he has shown quick hands through the zone and the ability to barrel the ball. The patient and disciplined approach at the plate at such a young age is an early indicator of potential OBP upside for Salas that should appeal to dynasty managers. Salas should grow into average to above-average power as he matures but with the ability to barrel up the ball on a consistent basis, the sky’s the limit for Salas. The defense is plus grades across the board and should move him through the minor leagues as long as the bat produces.
Brando Mayea, OF NYY
The New York Yankees like going after five-tool players in the past international signing periods and this year is no exception. At 5’11” and 175 pounds Mayea still has some projection left on the body but so far he profiles as a plus hitter from the right side. With strong bat-to-ball skills, Mayea spreads the ball all around the field making hard and loud contact. The bat speed and angle of his swing lead me to believe that as he puts on good muscle weight, the power in his swing will be easy 25 plus home runs at the major league level. Currently a plus runner, Mayea could be a base-stealing threat as he moves through the minor leagues and could post 20-plus stolen bases at the major league level. The potential for a 20-20 contributor should have any dynasty manager excited on what’s to come for Mayea.
Felnin Celesten, SS SEA
Coming in as the top shortstop of the class, Celesten has five-tool potential coming into Seattle’s organization. The power is clear with Celesten grading out as a plus offering the trick will be how the contact skills progress. The switch-hitting shortstop can be aggressive at the plate and will need to show a bit more patience as he moves up the system. If these adjustments can be made Celesten could easily be the best prospect signed in this class. With above-average speed, there should be stolen base potential, and helps Celesten with range on the defensive side. At only 17 years old there is still some projection for the 6’1” and 175-pound Celesten, leading me to believe he could potentially move off the position in time.
Enmanuel Bonilla, OF TOR
If power is your goal in the 2023 international class, Enmanuel Bonilla might be the guy for you. Standing at 6’2” and 195 pounds, Bonilla looks the part of a future slugger. From the right side of the plate, Bonilla hits the ball with authority showing a power-over-hit profile. That’s not to say Bonilla is not a good hitter; quite to the contrary, the approach is sound. He might just need work against breaking pitches as he moves up the organizational ladder. The speed is average for Bonilla, possibly chipping in a few stolen bases but this is undoubtedly a corner outfield bat with 25 to 30 homerun pop at the major league level.
Brailer Guerrero, OF TBR
Prolific power bats are hard to come by and Guerrero jumps off the page as a game-changing power bat. At 6’3” and 205 pounds Guerrero is built for power and has drawn double-plus power grades from scouts. This could be a 30-plus home run bat in the middle of the batting order at the major league level. The contact is a close second for Guerrero as he has quick bat speed and a disciplined approach in his at-bats. Speed is not a part of Guerrero’s game and he should slot in as a corner outfielder as he ascends the Rays’ organizational ladder.
Sebastian Walcott, SS TEX
If you are looking for a player that has a ton of potential, check out Sebastian Walcott. The 6’4” and 190-pound Walcott hit his growth spurt at only 16 years old, begging the question what more can we expect? Walcott has strong bat-to-ball skills helped by his quick hands and the ability to make a ton of contact without the drawback of swing-and-miss tendencies brought on by bigger-framed hitters. His ability to hit the ball to all fields with authority, has scouts thinking Walcott could get to above-average to plus power as he matures. The likelihood of Walcott staying at shortstop long-term is slim, more than likely pushing him to a corner infield spot or to the outfield for the Rangers.
Alfredo Duno, C CIN
Standing at 6’3” and 220 pounds, Duno is an intimidating figure at catcher but don’t let the size fool you. Defensively Duno has quick pop times and a rocket for an arm, leading scouts to believe he will stick behind the plate. The fantasy draw to Duno is the potential plus raw power that resides in his bat that some evaluators have said could be a 30-home-run bat at the major league level. The contact skills could be the biggest area to improve as the Duno can get out of sync leading to swing and miss. After reading about Duno I believe he could be similar to a Mike Zunino type with the good defense teams love and big power but questionable hit tool concerns.
Jesus Caba, SS PHI
The Phillies have shown to have a type in the last two international signing periods with Jesus Caba checking the box of a defensive shortstop with projection. Caba has plus fielding ability with a solid arm and above-average speed. The speed for Caba could equate to 15-20 stolen bases at the major league level similar to Bryson Stott’s output in 2022. The hit tool and power have flashes of an above-average offering and will need refinement as he moves up the Phillies organization. At 5’10” and 160 pounds there could be some gains in muscle weight leading to a potential 15 to 20 home run pop at the major league level if things go right.
Luis Morales, RHP OAK
Morales is a polished pitcher coming from Cuba where he showed the ability to wow scouts with 161 strikeouts in 82.2 innings pitched between 2019 and 2020. Morales has an electric fastball topping out at 97 mph, a sharp breaking slider that grades out as an above-average offering. A curveball and a changeup round out the pitch mix. Morales profiles as a starter with a 6’3” build and could move quickly in Oakland’s farm system due to his experience pitching in Cuba.
Luis Guanipa, OF ATL
The Atlanta Braves added to the stacked farm system with Luis Guanipa, a right-handed outfield prospect that has the tools to make a difference. The bat is Guanipa’s calling card as he has shown excellent bat-to-ball instincts with quick bat speed and the ability to drive the ball to all fields. There is raw power here for Guanipa as he has been putting on good muscle weight and showing the ability to drive the ball out of the professional ballpark he trains in. Guanipa shows good fielding instincts in the outfield and has above-average speed on the basepaths. With Atlanta’s track record of player development, all eyes will be on Luis Guanipa as he looks to make his professional debut in 2023.
Deep League Targets
Daiverson Gutierrez, C NYM
The thought of comparisons to fellow Mets catching prospect Francisco Alverez will get any dynasty manager salivating. It seems the Mets are at it again with Daiveson Gutierrez, a 6’3” 206-pound baseball-crushing machine. Gutierrez is an advanced hitter with good plate recognition and raw plus power resulting in solid offensive production. As is the case for most taller hitters, there can be a loop in his swing at times but when the mechanics are on Gutierrez will produce. The defense is a work in progress similar to Alverez before him but if he shows he can hit there is 25 to 30 home run potential for Gutierrez and the Mets.
Esmil Valencia, OF HOU
The Houston Astros are one of the best organizations in MLB for developing in-house talent and this year they have added Esmil Valencia to the list. Valencia shows an advanced eye at the plate making solid contact and driving the ball to all fields. There is still projection on the 6’0” and 170-pound Valencia, leading scouts to believe he could fill into a 25-30 home run bat at a corner outfield spot.
Yophery Rodriguez, OF MIL
Milwaukee has had success in international signings over the last few seasons with Jackson Chourio skyrocketing up rankings in 2022. Yophery Rodriguez has some toolsy features that lead me to believe he could be a steal for the Brewers in this class. Rodriguez has a clean swing that has been praised as one of the most dangerous offensive threats from the left side. He shows plus bat-to-ball skills and barrels up the ball with ease. It’s the raw power that could skyrocket Rodriguez like Chourio before him. The patience at the plate and discipline at such a young age could lead to good average and OBP tendencies where the speed is average for Rodriguez. More than likely Rodriguez will man one of the corner outfield spots and could be an interesting dynasty contributor.
Andy Acevedo, OF WSH
Washington made a smart call targeting Andy Acevedo, a left-handed outfielder with an effortless swing and an advanced approach at the plate. Standing at 6’1” and 170 pounds, Acevedo is still filling out and scouts believe there is above-average to plus power long term. Acevedo is not a burner on the bases but can contribute a few stolen bases a year. Acevedo resembles a prospect in the Nationals system in Jeremy De La Rosa and could have a similar slow rise through the minors refining his skills.
Top 50 International Prospect Rankings for 2023
|Filippo Di Turi||SS||16||MIL|
For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!