The 2023 international signing period opened on Sunday, and the Dodgers opened by signing a pair of Dominican standouts — shortstop Joendry Vargas and outfielder Arnaldo Lantigua.
The Dodgers for this year’s international signing period, which runs through December 15, have a total of $4.144 million to spend, tied with the Rangers for the lowest bonus pool in the majors. Every signing bonus over $10,000 counts against the bonus pool.
The top prospect signed by the Dodgers on Sunday is Vargas, who we mentioned in our preview of the international signing period earlier this week. Vargas signed for $2.08 million, just over half the Dodgers’ total bonus pool, per Antonio Puesán.
JUST CONFIRMED - Los Angeles Dodgers sign SS Prospect Joendry Vargas for 2.08M. Vargas is ranked No.3 in the International Prospect Rankings by MLB. pic.twitter.com/NyfDHJXe8a— Antonio Puesán (@antoniopuesan) January 15, 2023
“At the plate, he shows an advanced approach with the ability to hit for average,” wrote Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com. “One of the top hitters in the class, he hits line drives to all fields and shows home run potential with a mechanically sound swing.”
Lantigua is a 6’3 power-hitting outfielder from Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, the same birthplace as former Dodgers José González and Tony Abreu. MLB Pipeline ranked the righty-batting, righty-throwing Lantigua as the No. 23 international prospect.
There’s concern over strike zone management, which isn’t all that surprising for someone who just turned 17 in December. But it’s when he does connect that has folks interested in Lantigua.
“Lantigua’s ability to make consistent contact and hit for power stood out for most scouts, as he clocked exit velos over 100 mph in batting practice and games,” said MLB Pipeline’s scouting report. “If he continues to develop at a normal pace, he could turn into a middle-of-the order type of bat in the future because of his offensive prowess.”
Lantigua signed for a $700,000 bonus, per Puesán.