Evident in Monday's first flurry of international signings was the Tigers' focus on pumping bats into a farm system, and ultimately onto a big-league roster.
The Tigers signed three teens from the Dominican Republic and are expected to add more talent, leaning even heavier on the position side, as the international signing period, which began officially Monday, extends through 2018 and into 2019.
Their highest-profile catch Monday was Adinso Reyes, a 6-foot, 195-pound, right-handed batter who was 19th on MLB.com's list of top international prospects, and 38th on Baseball America's ballot.
The Tigers, according to Baseball America and to MLB.com, spent more than $1.4 million of their nearly $5 million allocation, which is decided by Commissioner Rob Manfred's office.
The Tigers also signed Angel Cruz, who is 6-1, 165, and bats right-handed, as does a third shortstop the Tigers landed: Geury Estevez, who is 6-foot, 180.
Still being pursued is a prized outfielder, Jose de la Cruz, who likewise is from the Dominican Republic and who was 15th on MLB.com's list, and 17th on Baseball America's top 50.
The Tigers also are in the hunt for two more Venezuelan teens: pitcher Rolando Sirit, and shortstop Yoan Bravo.
"We're excited about all of these guys," said Tom Moore, the Tigers' director of international operations, speaking specifically about Monday's three signings. "We're still hammering the phones, trying to get things together as we work on the next wave.
Moore agreed Reyes "is probably the more high-profile player," after he appeared in an MLB Showcase game in February. "He's got great bat-speed. He's a premium position player, with an athletic body, and real projectionable.
"He's an exciting young bat for us, and an exciting young defender."
Baseball America's scouts offered this report on Reyes:
“Reyes is one of the strongest players in the 2018 class. He has a heavy, compact build that’s relatively mature for his age, and his strength shows up in batting practice. He has the raw power to drive the ball out of the park to his pull-side now, and he has a chance to develop above-average power in the future.
“He’s unlikely to spend much time at shortstop in pro ball. He has an average arm now that could tick up in the future, with third base a potential fit if he can improve his footwork and defensive actions.”
Jose de la Cruz, a 16-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic, is Baseball America’s No. 17 prodigy and is expected to sign for nearly $2 million.
He is 6-foot, 195 pounds, and bats right-handed.
“An athletic outfielder with a strong, compact build, de la Cruz has some of the best tools in the class,” Baseball America writes. “While his body type looks more like a corner outfielder, de la Cruz has plus speed and reads the ball well off the bat in center field.
“While de la Cruz will have to make adjustments at the plate with his timing and contact,” Baseball America continues, referring to swing-and-miss issues, “he has plenty of bat speed and strength in his swing … When he connects, he makes loud, quality contact and drives the ball well to the middle of the field, with a chance to grow into plus power.”