Sunday marked the start of MLB’s international signing period for 2023 and the Mariners confirmed seven signings, including Felnin Celesten.
If there’s any doubting the importance of Major League Baseball’s international signing period, then look no further than Julio Rodriguez. While finding players of his ilk are not commonplace, it represents the peak of what is possible for the Mariners and other organizations.
As such, Sunday’s start of the 2023 MLB international signing period came with plenty of hope and anticipation for Seattle and their fan base. The M’s announced seven signings on the day, highlighted by the addition of Felnin Celesten.
Depending on where you read up on Celesten, he is rated as either the second or third-best international prospect in all of baseball. That the Mariners succeeded in signing him, should be considered an impressive coup.
The Dominican Republic native is regarded by many as a potential five-tool player. In fact, MLB Pipeline writes that he has the highest ceiling of any international shortstop prospect in a decade.
Mariners’ Director of International Amateur Scouting Frankie Thon Jr. shared his thoughts on Celesten. He said:
“Getting to know Felnin as a person has been just as rewarding as getting to evaluate him as a player. The flair, confidence, and swagger that he displays between the lines, is complimented by a soft-spoken, polite, and thoughtful disposition off the field. Felnin certainly has all the ingredients to eventually grow into an impactful member of the Mariners organization, in every sense of the word.”
About the only negative — if you can call it that — which can be found in the 17-year-old, is that he needs to learn to be a more selective hitter. However, at his age he has plenty of time to work on this.
Overall though, Celesten is worth the $4.7 million he was signed for. To give some perspective, the Mariners have a base signing pool of $6,366,900.
Plenty of talent and hope
In addition, the other six signings have their own worth and potential. Here is some information regarding each, courtesy of Thon:
Kelvin Alcantara, 17, OF, Dominican Republic – One of the best gap-to-gap hitters in the signing class, complimented by solid defensive skills.
Delfry Carrasco, 18, INF, Dominican Republic – A versatile player who has an on-base driven approach at the plate.
Sebastian De Andrade, 16, C, Venezuela – An aggressive hitter renowned for his solid defensive tools behind the plate.
Kendal Meza, 17,RHP, Nicaragua – A power pitcher with an up-tempo aggressive delivery, he has a solid breaking ball which serves as an excellent secondary pitch.
Ruddy Navarro, 16, RHP, Dominican Republic – Relies on a solid fastball and changeup mix, but is currently working on developing a slider.
Kay Robles, 18, OF, Dominican Republic – Well-built with above average speed and surprising raw strength, who is projected as a centerfielder.
A joyous occasion
Thon Jr. summed up his feelings about the announced signings. He said:
“As always, the first day of the International signing period is a joyous occasion that acts as a yearly reminder of why we, as scouts, love what we do. To witness the moment that these young players, from diverse countries and backgrounds, achieve their dreams while taking that first step towards their ultimate professional goal…it’s something that we as a staff will surely never take for granted.”
Celesten clearly brings a lot of hope to the Mariners organization. However, which of the other six international signings are you most intrigued by and why? Let us know in the comments section below.
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