Minor League Baseball insiders and prospect gurus have linked a pair of high-flying shortstops, Dawel Joseph (#7) and Leandro Romero (#48), to the Mariners for months. They finally signed their deals yesterday, on the first day of the 2024 International Signing Period (ISP), with both getting signing bonuses north of $1M and Joseph taking more than half of the Mariner's bonus pool. We recently wrote about the two prospects, but they are just the tip of the iceberg in a fantastic class.
Frankie Thon Jr., the Mariner's Director of International Scouting, commented on the initial signees via Ryan Divish's latest column, going as far as offering a comprehensive analysis of the class. Thon praised the blend of skillsets and upside in their 2024 ISP prospects. While the team usually releases the Dominican-born prospect list early, signing from other Caribbean and South American countries will trickle in over the next few weeks.
There are reports that Thon's team landed a third MLB Pipeline ISP Top 100 prospect in Gabriel Gaunches, a 16-year-old catcher from Venezuela. Future Star Series analyst Joe Doyle had a short write-up on the backstop last fall, mentioning his considerable advancements both behind and at the plate. People should never confuse me for a scout, but the same direct path to the ball the industry praised Joseph for is evident in Gaunches and some easy in-game pop. That skill alone should bode well for the youthful backstop, who will start his professional career in the Dominican Summer League this spring.
One of the best things about the ISP is that it is a long game, meaning the Mariner's list of signees will continue to grow. Additionally, adding three Top 100 prospects to an already ascending farm system equipped with tremendous talent in the lower levels is another exciting development.