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Josh Byrnes on Starling Heredia, Ronny Brito, Oneil Cruz & more

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Josh Byrnes compared Starling Heredia, aka The Pitbull, to Kirby Puckett in body size.
Josh Byrnes compared Starling Heredia, aka The Pitbull, to Kirby Puckett in body size.
Photo: Octagon

LOS ANGELES -- Catching up on a busy day that saw the Dodgers sign nine amateurs and acquire four minor leaguers for approximately $1.3 million in international bonus pool slots, team senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes weighed in on the Dodgers' haul on the first day of the 2015-2016 international signing period.

The top bonus of the day was $16 million given to Cuban right-hander Yadier Alvarez, who will likely remain in the Dominican Republic in 2015.

Dominican outfielder Starling Heredia got $2.6 million from the Dodgers. The Dominican Prospect League called the 6'1, 190-pound 16-year-old "one of the strongest players in the 2015 class and one of the most aggressive in all phases of the game."

Byrnes had high praise for Heredia.

"He's very comparable at least in physique to Kirby Puckett. A fireplug body. They call him 'The Pitbull' down there," Byrnes said. "He has a real strength and speed combination with a very strong body, and he can really run."

Ronny Brito got $2 million and Oneil Cruz $950,000 from the Dodgers. The team lists both 16-year-olds currently as shortstops, though a lot can happen during their formative years.

"Brito has a real chance [to remain at shortstop]. He's a nice combination of tools and skills, to be able to play short and swing the bat," Byrnes said. "Cruz with his body type probably won't stay there, and may or may not go to the outfield. He's tall - 6'4, 6'5 - a left-handed hitter, with Gregory Polanco-type comps. He may have a hard time staying at shortstop."

Outfielder Eddy Martinez still has not signed yet, though is expected to command a bonus of $10 million or more. The Dodgers have been reportedly linked to him, but so have the Cubs.

"We're going to do everything we can to evaluate all factors and make our best decision. Obviously we have resources that give us an advantage when we try to sign them," Byrnes said. "But he's on a list of a lot of guys we're actively scouting and trying to determine if they are guys we're going to try to sign."

In addition to the six signings covered earlier on Thursday, the Dodgers signed three more players - 17-year-old Dominican outfielder Carlos Rincon, 16-year-old switch-hitting Venezuelan shortstop Luis Rodriguez, and 16-year-old Nicaraguan second baseman Aldo Espinoza.

The bonuses for those players aren't yet known, but here is a summary of what we do know to date, including the signing scout for each player.

Dodgers 2015-2016 international signing period
Pos Player Age Country Scout(s) Bonus
RHP Yadier Alvarez 19 Cuba Mike Tosar, Patrick Guerrero, Bob Engle $16,000,000
OF Starling Heredia 16 Dominican Republic Patrick Guerrero, Franklin Taveras Jr., Manelik Pimentel $2,600,000
IF Ronny Brito 16 Dominican Republic Franklin Taveras Jr., Elvio Jimenez, Manelik Pimentel $2,000,000
IF Oneal Cruz 16 Dominican Republic Patrick Guerrero, Franklin Taveras Jr., Bob Engle $950,000
OF Christopher Arias 16 Dominican Republic Franklin Taveras Jr., Manelik Pimentel, Elvio Jimenez $500,000
RHP Ramon Rosso 19 Dominican Republic Juan Garcia-Puig, Doug Skyles unknown
OF Carlos Rincon 17 Dominican Republic Patrick Guerrero, Bob Engle unknown
SS Luis Rodriguez 16 Venezuela Jose Briceno, Pedro Avila unknown
2B Aldo Espinoza 16 Nicaragua Nemesio Porras, Luis Molina unknown
Totals $22,050,000
Less: Bonus pool $700,000
Overage (100% tax)
$21,350,000
Total Cost $43,400,000