The Houston Astros haven’t been shy about putting money into the international market after going over their international signing pool during the 2016-17 signing period.
The train continues on Tuesday with the news the team has signed Cuban RHP pitcher Elian Rodriguez to a $2 million deal, first reported by Baseball America’s Ben Balder.
The signing of the 20-year-old righty is subject to the international bonus spending, which the Astros has already exceeded thus requiring a 100 percent tax, bring up the cost of his signing to $4 million. On top of that, they won’t be able to sign a player over $300,000 for the next two signing periods.
The 2016-17 signing period ends on June 15 and the Astros have already signed a bumper crop of prospects: Anibal Sierra from Cuba; Freudis Nova, Nerio Rodriguez and Deury Carrasco from the Dominican Republic; and Yorbin Ceuta and Angel Macuare from Veneuzela.
Rodriguez is listed at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds with long limbs. He has reportedly can hit upper 90’s — says Balder:
Rodriguez was throwing in the upper-80s when he left Cuba, but more recently in the Dominican Republic, Rodriguez has topped out at 97 mph, sitting in the low-to-mid 90s in short stints at workouts. Rodriguez throws two breaking balls, including a hard slider that’s his best secondary pitch at 84-88 mph and can miss bats, along with a solid upper-70s curveball and a mid-80s changeup that he hasn’t used much yet. While his command has been scattered at times, he did shown some signs of improvement with his strike-throwing at recent workouts.