Cardinals Announce 23 July 2nd Signings

photo: Scouting Supervisor Angel Ovalles, Jose Davila, International Director Luis Morales (St. Louis Cardinals)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today (Tuesday, July 2) that the club has agreed to terms with 23 free-agent players representing the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela from the first day of Major League Baseball’s international signing period for 2019-20.

Five outfielders, two catchers, six infielders, nine right-handed pitchers and one left-handed pitcher were among the signees, highlighted by Maracaibo, Venezuela native and right-handed pitcher Jose Davila, who profiles as starter with fastball, curveball and changeup mix, and Jeremy Rivas, a sound defensive shortstop from Puerto Cabello, Venezuela with a high offensive upside.

A complete listing of the Cardinals international player signings is at the bottom of this article.

All of the announced player signings are subject to final contract approvals from the Office of the Commissioner, and will be assigned to the Dominican Summer League Cardinals. Right-handed pitchers Americo Lugo, Brayan Ramirez, and Hancel Marcelino will be activated immediately, with the remaining 20 signees being eligible to play in 2020.


Brian Walton’s take

This is the largest quantity of players signed by the Cardinals on July 2nd in at least the last four years and perhaps the highest first-day total for the team ever. One year ago, the organization signed just two players on day 1, though one was budding star Malcom Nunez and they later added 35 others.

In 2017, the Cards announced 10 signings on July 2nd. Even in their major overspending year of 2016-2017, just 13 signees were disclosed initially.

Perhaps in this uncertain international market, where risks are higher because of the youth of the players, the Cardinals are going for quantity, hoping a few will eventually emerge as major leaguers.

Prospect-watching national entities may undertake the challenge of ranking the unsigned players. None of the 23 new Cardinals are among this year’s top 30 international prospects according to MLB Pipeline. However, due to the inherent uncertainties in this market, Baseball America has stopped ranking international prospects.

Coming into the day, the two Cardinals’ Dominican Summer League rosters had a total of just six active roster openings, three of which will undoubtedly be filled by Lugo, Ramirez and Marcelino. The other 20 new signees will likely report to the Cardinals’ academy in the Dominican to train and prepare for 2020.

Player signing bonuses are never announced by the organization, though some amounts will be disclosed later through the media. One can guess that the two players highlighted by the team – Davila and Rivas – received the most money.

Davila has three pitches – a fastball at 90-93 mph, a high-spin curve and a change-up. Rivas has a future power profile, while the former Venezuelan U14 World Cup infielder is said to make the routine plays defensively.

The Cardinals’ total bonus pool this period is $6,481,200, tied with seven other clubs for the most in MLB. This is a hard cap that cannot be exceeded, though teams can acquire additional cap room in trade. After two years of the Cardinals being restricted to a $300,000 per-player limit for overspending in 2016-2017, that penalty is no longer in place.

The video of shortstop Lizandro Espinoza and outfielder Santiago Carbonara come from Ben Badler of Baseball America.


Last Name First Pos. B/T HT WT Season DOB Age Country
Beltre, Alexander LHP L/L 6-1 169 2020 11 05 02 16 Dominican Republic
Bolivar, Javier SS R/R 6-1 170 2020 12 19 02 16 Venezuela
Carbonara, Santiago OF R/R 6-0 187 2020 9 23 02 16 Venezuela
Cervantes, Alejandro RHP R/R 6-2 189 2020 5 15 01 18 Mexico
Cordoba, Jose OF R/R 5-11 165 2020 1 03 03 16 Venezuela
Cuello, Antoni RHP R/R 6-5 190 2020 11 07 02 16 Dominican Republic
Davila, Jose RHP R/R 6-3 184 2020 11 09 02 16 Venezuela
Encarnacion, Bryan SS S/R 6-1 136 2020 4 20 03 16 Dominican Republic
Espinoza, Lizandro SS R/R 5-9 145 2020 11 20 02 16 Dominican Republic
Guerrero, Justin C R/R 6-1 195 2020 5 20 03 16 Dominican Republic
Guzman, Frankely RHP R/R 6-2 155 2020 6 19 03 16 Dominican Republic
Guzman, Raul 3B R/R 6-0 175 2020 9 14 02 16 Dominican Republic
Hernandez, Maikel C S/R 6-0 163 2020 2 02 03 16 Venezuela
Justo, Maicol SS S/R 5-10 141 2020 2 02 03 16 Venezuela
Martinez, Miguel RHP R/R 6-0 150 2020 1 26 03 16 Venezuela
Ramos, Jeremy OF R/R 6-2 173 2020 4 04 03 16 Dominican Republic
Reynoso, Francis OF R/R 6-4 206 2020 12 26 02 16 Dominican Republic
Rivas, Jeremy SS R/R 6-0 172 2020 3 04 03 16 Venezuela
Salas, Juan RHP R/R 6-1 175 2020 2 14 03 16 Mexico
Taveras, Felix OF L/R 6-1 186 2020 3 08 03 16 Dominican Republic
Lugo, Americo RHP R/R 6-1 192 2019 8 27 00 18 Dominican Republic
Marcelino, Hansel RHP R/R 6-1 175 2019 6 16 02 17 Dominican Republic
Ramirez, Brayan RHP R/R 6-4 200 2019 9 29 01 17 Colombia

For more

To track the Cardinals’ draft picks, the 25- and 40-man rosters as well as all players in the system by position and level, check out the Roster Matrix, always free and updated here at The Cardinal Nation. Also included is every player transaction across the full organization all year long.


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