Today, the Texas Rangers landed former Atlanta Braves prospect Yenci Pena to a deal valued at $675K, according to Ben Badler of Baseball America.
Pena was ruled a free agent after the Braves lost in the investigation due to the club’s violation of international signing guidelines.
Now, the Rangers had one of the largest international bonus pools in baseball, as they were trying to make a push for Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, who decided to join division rivals, the Los Angeles Angels.
Furthermore, the Rangers start their off-season by picking up the young shortstop and hoping that he can turn into a key piece in the future, whether it be as a key contributor as a Ranger or a vital piece in a potential trade down the road.
The Dominican Republic native struggled this past year, which was his first year in pro baseball. He hit into a slash line of .230/.328/.327, but shockingly, he recorded a steady walk rate of 12.8% that pushed his offensive status to roughly average at the plate.
Reminder, the kid is only 17 years old.
Finally, Pena might not be a standout player in one area of the game, but he will be a well-rounded producer in many areas. When the Braves signed him when he was 15-years old, MLB.com reported that he is an athletic player that carries himself to a high standard defensively and on base running with a projection to have solid power at the plate with a consistent batting average.
Note: With his size, he could eventually make a shift to third base.