Ben Badler of Baseball America reported today that the Twins have signed 16-year-old Venezuelan right-hander Mauricio SIlva for $370K (don't worry, the Silva most familiar to Twins fans has already latched on with Boston... have fun with that one, Red Sox).
The 6'2", 190-pound Silva was one of the most highly-regarded Latin American talents in this year's July 2 class. Baseball America predicted that he'd receive the 28th-highest bonus of any international signing, and provided readers with a brief scouting report to help us see what Silva's all about (from July 1):
Though he's still 15, Silva already has one of the best fastballs in Latin America. A big-bodied righthander with strong shoulders, Silva didn't have the national attention of fellow Venezuelan righthanders Victor Sanchez or Antonio Senzatela coming into the year, but his stock has risen with his fastball velocity. He pitches in the low 90s and has topped out at 93 mph with heavy sink. He also flashes a power curveball in the high 70s with occasional hard bite. His changeup gets mixed reviews, but he shows a feel for the pitch with some deception. Silva will have to wait to sign until he turns 16 on July 24.
Silva differs from the other 16-year-old international signing I talked about last July, Miguel Gonzalez, in that he already has touched 93mph (at a younger age than Gonzalez, too). Like Gonzalez, he's shown flashes of strong secondary stuff, which is a big plus for kids of this age. Baseball America doesn't mention his command and feel for the zone as they did with Gonzalez, but for the time being it seems like Silva has the better raw stuff. A lot can change quickly when you're talking about 16-year-olds, obviously, so don't read too much into that, but it's nice to see someone with this kind of velocity at this age added to the organization all the same.
Minnesota has added some nice international talent over the past few years, highlighted of course by Miguel Sano and Oswaldo Arcia (a Venezuela native himself). The additions of two high-ceiling 16-year-old arms obviously won't help address the lack of talent at the Triple-A level, but it's good to see the Twins are still scouting and spending to keep a constant stream of potential flowing through the organization.
Steve Adams also writes for MLBTradeRumors.com, MLB.com Fantasy Baseball, and has contributed at 612Sports.net. You can follow him on Twitter: @Adams_Steve