The international signing period opened up on Sunday with the SF Giants adding one of the top prospects in this year's cycle. According to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.Com, the Giants have added outfielder Rayner Arias to a $2.7 million deal.
SF Giants ink 16-year-old outfielder to massive signing bonus
The Giants have a bonus pool of $5.824 million for this year's cycle, so Arias' deal accounts for nearly 50 percent of that pool. They are in the same spending pool as teams like the Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, and Atlanta Braves.
The signing bonus Arias agreed to represents one of the larger investments on the international market that the Giants have ever made. The Giants handed out a $6 million signing bonus to middle infielder Lucius Fox during the 2015 signing period and this is the largest one since then.
MLB.Com has the 16-year-old outfielder ranked as the No. 15 prospect in this year's class, whereas Baseball America has him at No.12. His father, Pablo, played for four seasons in the Detroit Tigers organization in the late 1990's and early 2000's.
He currently works as an area scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks, so Rayner has been around baseball his entire life. MLB.Com lauds his impressive tools and makeup:
""The athletic teen displays an advanced baseball IQ, plus makeup and leadership qualities that set him apart. He never seems overmatched in any situation, and that’s very appealing for a team that wants to sign him. On the field, Arias has a chance to have at least three above-average tools -- hit, power and arm -- and shows a strong work ethic that wows scouts... The teen also shows an advanced approach at the plate and has a good feel for the strike zone.""- MLB.Com
Similarly, Baseball America (subscription required) highlights Arias' approach at the plate and offensive upside:
" Scouts highest on Arias believe he is one of the most advanced hitters in the country [Domincan Republic]. He drives the ball well already, with the size and strength projection to potentially grow into plus power as well"- Baseball America
Given his age, it is likely that Arias will begin next year in the Dominican Summer League. However, if he performs well in minor league camp, it would not be terribly surprising to see him placed in the Arizona Complex League as well.
This is the type of move that may take years to fully realize the benefit. Development is never linear and the uphill climb for a 16-year-old is substantial. That said, the top players in each cycle turn usually into role players, at the very least, or everyday players. The Giants are hoping that he turns into the latter.