UPDATE: Nationals make it official…
Washington’s Nationals have a total of $5,179,700 to spend during this year’s international signing period, which begins today and continues through December 15, 2022, and if this report last night from MLB Network analyst Jon Heyman is accurate, the club is spending, “close to $5M” of their bonus pool on 17-year-old, Cuban-born outfielder Cristhian Vaquero, who’s ranked No. 2 on MLB Pipeline’s list of the top prospects available this time around.
Cuban OF Cristian Vaquero (17) is also the prospect with the highest amount (4,925,000 M) in this period of international signings.— Francys Romero (@francysromeroFR) January 15, 2022
El OF cubano Cristian Vaquero (17) es el prospecto con el bono más alto (4,925,000) del actual período de firmas internacionales. #Nationals pic.twitter.com/NVboLX9kXw
Vaquero was ranked 1st on BA’s list of the top international players eligible to sign this year.
MLB Pipeline’s scouts described Vaquero, who just turned 17 this past September, as a, “... potential five-tool player with lots of potential.”
“Vaquero is one of the most dynamic international prospects on the market. He’s also one of the most athletic.
The top name on our International Big Board is expected to sign with the @Nationals. What kind of power can Cristian Vaquero add to their farm system?https://t.co/OcKn6RHVei pic.twitter.com/MsGoLcNJrC— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) December 27, 2021
The switch-hitting outfielder, who only recently started swinging from the right side since he left Cuba, according to the MLB.com scouts, has also impressed defensively in center field:
“He can really cover ground in center field, shows a strong arm and has a chance to be a plus defender at the position. He plays hard with lots of energy and shows tons of natural instinct in practice and in games.”
“Consider this,” MLB Pipeline’s scouts wrote, Vaquero, were he a U.S.-born player, “would be a high school sophomore and on track to be a top five pick in the Draft in a couple of years.”
Instead, he’s now (reportedly) a prospect in the Nationals’ organization, with reports today that the long-rumored deal is done, though not officially announced by the club.
“According to industry sources, the club has an agreement with [Cristhian] Vaquero, No. 2 on the Top 50 International Prospects list, for a deal estimated to be in the $4.9 million range,” MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez wrote this morning.