7 billion bets on 17-year-old catcher, prospects are no exception, preller’wide move’
The San Diego Padres general manager AJ Preller is nicknamed ‘Mad Man’. The background is the unique history of frequently signing unconventional and bold player recruitment. Last season, in order to become the strongest team in the National League (NL) Western Division, they risked losing money and prospects to recruit the league’s No. 1 finishing pitcher Josh Hader and giant outfielder Juan Soto.
His new talent discovery and contracts are also bold. On the 16th (Korean time), when the recruitment of international prospects began, General Manager Preller drew attention once again. Giving 5.6 million dollars (6.914 billion won) as a down payment to a player who has not yet been verified. At the center of the wide move is Ethan Salas (17), who was the number 1 amateur international prospect selected by MLB.com.
Salas, a catcher from Venezuela, is also a player that has been noticed by leading American baseball media. As with any prospect, the evaluation is generous. It is said that he has excellent physical condition (height 188 cm, weight 84 kg), both swing and pioneering eyes, and catch handling, blocking and throwing abilities, which are standards for evaluating catcher’s defensive ability. He also comes from a ‘baseball family’ where his grandfather, father and uncle all played as professional baseball players. His older brother, Jose Salas, is a Miami Marlins representative prospect. 바카라
San Diego showed an ‘all-in’ strategy by investing most of the $5.825 million in the bonus pool in Salas. This kind of behavior can also be seen as the propensity of President Preller.
San Diego is not the type to develop home-room resources well. Austin Hedges, who was nominated in 2011 and played from 2015 to 2020, is considered. It is difficult to see him as a catcher with top-notch skills. Austin Nola, who was a key player in the 2022 season, is an outside recruit, and Louis Torrens, who was recruited as an international prospect like Salas, was used as a trade card with the Seattle Mariners. If I had to pick a good eye, it was the choice to trade Yasmani Grandal, who was a promising player in 2011. After serving as the starting pitcher in the 2014 season, he showed his full potential after moving to the Los Angeles Dodgers the following year.
General Manager Preller’s choice to invest 5.6 million dollars in Salas does not necessarily mean strengthening training. He can also be raised well and used as a trade card. For starters, Salas got the most attention on the first day when his 2023 international amateur contract was announced.