Chicago — The Tigers have dipped their toes back into the international signing pool.
On Tuesday they signed Cuban-born outfielder Roberto Campos for $2.85 million.
Campos, who is 16, defected, along with his older brother, after a tournament in the Dominican Republic in 2016. He was 13 at that time and was the most valuable player in that international tournament.
"Roberto Campos has power to all fields with instincts to hit," said Tom Moore, the Tigers director of international operations. "He has arm strength from the outfield that profiles for right field.
"We feel he is one of the top bats in this year's (international) class."
MiLB.com, which scouts and ranks international prospects annually, did not have Campos on its top 30 list. Still, Jesse Sanchez, who covers international baseball for MLB.com, offered an encouraging report about Campos on Tuesday.
"Campos, who has experience playing in the youth leagues of Cuba, can hit and has plus power potential," he wrote. "He has shown good plate discipline and good mechanics. He’ll likely start at third base and move to the outfield as he grows."
Campos will remain in the Dominican Republic until he is 17. So at this time next year, he will be eligible to compete in the instructional league and then possibly make his professional debut in the Gulf Coast League.
The Tigers total allotted budget for international signings was $5.398 million. So, spending $2.85 million on Campos is a serious commitment.
The Tigers also have tentative agreements with two other players: shortstop Manuel Seguera (Venezuela) and outfielder Abelardo Lopez (Dominican Republic).
"Lopez is an athletic outfielder with a large frame and tons of physical projection," Sanchez wrote. "He has the bat speed to develop some power in the future. Sequera has some power potential and shows a plus arm with solid offensive potential. He’s an average defender and runner with a projectable body."
Others signed by the Tigers: shortstop Raudy De Los Santos, right handed pitcher Wilmer Fenelon, outfielder Abelaldo Lopez, and catcher Dany Martinez — all from the Dominican Republic.