January 15 is the new opening day for the international free agent (IFA) signing period better known before as July 2 or "J2", the old opening day. It is the first day where hundreds of international amateur prospects formally sign with their clubs to begin their professional careers. It should be noted that teams already had verbal deals with several of these prospects for years and today serve as a formality. The SF Giants were no different as they agreed to terms with a trio of prospects.
SF Giants bolster farm system by signing top IFA Prospects Reckley and Perez
As far as the Giants are concerned, the 2021/2022 IFA class (reminder that this is the 2021 IFA period that was pushed back to 2022 due to the pandemic) is far smaller than the previous classes that the organization had due to roster limits. It did not hamper the club in terms of signing some of the top talent in the IFA class, however, as the club struck a deal with Ryan Reckley worth $2.1 million in terms of signing bonus. Below is my formal report on the Bahamanian teenager.
Tool Grades: (Present/Future)
Hit 20/50 | Raw Power 40/50 | Game Power 20/45 | Speed 60/60 | Arm 50/55 | Field 45/55
PV (Present Value) 20 | FV (Future Value) 40
The Giants made Reckley their top target in the 2021 international free agent cycle and signed the Bahamanian to a signing bonus worth more than two million dollars. The switch-hitter is the first big Bahamanian signing by the Giants since they blew over their bonus pool more than six years ago to sign Lucius Fox.
There are a lot of similarities between Reckley and Fox. Reckley oozes athleticism and quick-twitch that is evident in all facets of his current game. He has at least plus speed that gives him terrific range in the dirt where he is fundamentally sound at the position with the ability to flash some spectacular plays. His arm strength is only solid but it projects to improve in terms of arm utility. His plus speed also reflects on the bases as he flashed good instincts on the base paths and as a base-stealing threat.
The one thing that separates Reckley and Fox is their offensive potential. A switch-hitter like Fox, Reckley’s bat path does not look as clean unlike other top Giants’ hitters but he has a better-looking swing at the right side with a compact stroke and plus bat speed while his lefty stroke is a bit draggy at times and needs some cleaning up. He has loft in his swing on both sides that bodes well in terms of tapping into his raw power with better leverage on the right side and he has an advanced strike-zone knowledge that should only improve over time.
Reckley has top-of-the-order potential but he could have at least five average tools when it’s all said and done. The loft in both of his strokes as well as the projection in his frame gives Reckley a chance to hit at least double-digit homers annually with solid peripherals and batting average. He has the defensive chops to stick in the dirt even after he matures in his frame but there is a possibility that he moves off the infield but stays up-the-middle as a center fielder. The current FV reflects the risk associated with a teenager who has yet to have his first swings as a professional but he has the ceiling of at least an everyday big-leaguer.
Along with Reckley, the Giants also signed catcher Juan Perez and shortstop Dennys Riera to signing bonuses of $1.2 million and $700,000, respectively. The Giants have spent 3/4 of their total bonus pool of $5,179,700 between the three prospects, a stark difference compared to their previous two IFA classes.
Perez is ranked in both MLB.com and Baseball America's international big boards and both sites have consistent reports on him. He is one of the best defensive catchers in the draft class with good agility, instincts, and arm strength. He also has a broad frame to add more strength and eventually develop at least average power. His overall maturity also stands out. There is currently little to no information regarding Riera at the moment.
Below are the other prospects that are expected to sign in the coming days or months. Only Alessandro Duran and Mauricio Estrella are the two prospects that I have solid information on at the moment. Duran is on the smaller side but is a lean and athletic catcher who should stick at the position and should only get stronger as he matures. Estrella is a broad-bodied and slightly built athlete with a present ability to spin a breaking ball and his fastball has a good life.
Congratulations on the newest members of the Giants organization!