With the international signing date fast approaching, the Mariners are viewed by Baseball America as the favorites to sign outfielder Luis Veloz, a 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic.
Veloz bats and throws right-handed and is 6 feet 2 and 170 pounds. Baseball America ranks him as the No. 29 prospect available during the international signing period, which begins Saturday.
“Veloz is a strong player with mature physical tools and a projectable body,” Baseball America reports. “His quick bat speed is what stands out at the plate and he should grow into at least average power once he gets stronger.”
The international signing period covers players who are not eligible for the MLB draft. These include residents from outside of the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories.
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Players must be at least 16 years old when they sign and turn 17 either by Sept. 1 or by the end of their first professional season. They must also register with the MLB Scouting Bureau.
Veloz will turn 17 on Dec. 15.
While he might start out as a center fielder, Baseball America believes “he profiles as a right fielder with a strong arm and average speed, which will likely slow down as he fills out.”
Much like the MLB draft, clubs are assigned a spending allotment for their international signings. Penalties are assessed for clubs exceeding their limit, including fines and limitations on signings in future years.
The amount is based on a club’s winning percentage in 2015, but clubs are permitted to trade up to 50 percent of their allotment.
The Mariners have $2,875,400 in their international pool, which ranks 11th among the 30 clubs. Philadelphia has the most at $5,610,800; St. Louis has the lowest at $2,027,000.
It’s now all but official — with balloting ending on Thursday — that the Mariners won’t have a player in the American League’s starting lineup at the All-Star Game on July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego.
Robinson Cano remains second in the balloting at second base but now trails Houston’s Jose Altuve by 910,939 votes in the latest update released Monday by Major League Baseball.
Nelson Cruz is fifth in the voting among designated hitters and trails the leader, Boston’s David Ortiz, by 2,600,233 votes. Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion is second but trails Ortiz by 2,268,373 votes.
No other Mariners are listed among the leaders at their positions. MLB only releases vote totals for the top 15 outfielders, and the top five recipients at all other positions.
Online voting to determine the starters continues through 8:59 p.m. Thursday at MLB.com.
Two of the organization’s right-handers were recognized as the pitcher of the week in their respective league for the period of June 20-26.
▪ Hi-A Bakersfield’s Osmer Morales, 23, was cited by the California League after working the first five innings in a combined no-hitter on June 24 vs. Modesto (Rockies). A native Venezuelan, he was signed in 2009 as a 16-year-old
▪ Short-A Everett’s Ljay Newsome, 19, won the award in the Northwest League after allowing just one earned run and five hits over 12 innings in two starts. Newsome was a 26th-round pick by Seattle in 2015.
The Mariners open a two-game series against the Pirates at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday at Safeco Field. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (6-6, 4.45 ERA) will face Pittsburgh lefty Jonathon Niese (6-5, 4.93).
The game can be seen on Root Sports and heard on 710-AM.
The series marks Pittsburgh’s first visit to Safeco Field since 2013. The Mariners play in Pittsburgh on July 26-27.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners