Detroit Tigers: Previewing J-2 Free Agency

Al Avila, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
Al Avila, Detroit Tigers (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Tigers could once again be active in the international free agent market, which begins on July 2nd.

July 2nd is a holiday on the baseball calendar. It marks the beginning of a new international free agent signing period. It is a time where baseball executives are free to scoop up the next batch of 16-year-old kids, many from the baseball hotbeds in Latin America. The Detroit Tigers will undoubtedly be involved, continuing the process of restocking the farm system.

Just as the MLB Draft has a pool for each team to spend on their draftees, so does international free agency. The Tigers are in the middle of the pack with $4,983,500 available to dole out to this years’ “lottery winners”. Some teams will use their pools to target one big name while others will spread it out. The rumor mill has linked the Detroit Tigers to two prospects in this year’s class.

Jose De La Cruz

De La Cruz is an outfielder from the Dominican Republic. At just 16 years old, raw talent shines above anything else, with emphasis on the raw. MLB Pipeline is quite bullish on De La Cruz, ranking him as the 15th best prospect in this years’ class. Looking at the toolbox, power is his calling card. Both the defense (arm and fielding) as well as speed are plus tools, and many scouts believe the already above average power will continue developing with physical maturation. MLB Pipeline believes he’ll play in center field to start as a professional but may end up moving to a corner. Fangraphs has De La Cruz listed as a right fielder and gives him a future grade of 35+. Currently, Fangraphs is predicting De La Cruz to sign for $2,000,000.

Adinso Reyes

Adinso Reyes is another prospect MLB Pipeline and Fangraphs both have in their top 30. Fangraphs values Reyes higher than De La Cruz, but MLB Pipeline is the reverse. Reyes carries average tools across the board, putting his floor a little higher but also capping the ceiling a bit. A current shortstop, Reyes will be given the opportunity to play his way out of the position. Many evaluators see him at the hot corner long-term. Fangraphs sees Reyes as a potential bench player in the majors, giving him a 40 future grade. Current projections have him signing for $1.3 million.

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Both Reyes and De La Cruz would give the Detroit Tigers raw athleticism after signing. As both are just 16 years old, it will be a few years before they even make it stateside. The Detroit Tigers will need to be patient with both. It could be 6+ years before either is wearing the Old English D.