Washington was able to add top talent in Cristian Vaquero to their up-and-coming farm system.
The 2021-2022 international signing period began today, after being pushed back from its usual July start date. Most of the top names have been linked to teams for over a year and were finally able to put pen to paper.
For the Nationals, they landed one of the top prospects in Cristian Vaquero, a Cuban outfielder. Baseball America and MLB Pipeline have him ranked as the number one and two prospect respectively.
Nicknamed “The Phenomenon”, Vaquero is a switch-hitting outfielder who has the potential to become a five-tool player. Johnny DiPuglia, Washington’s Assistant General Manager in charge of international operations was instrumental in locking up the phenom. He had some eye-popping reviews when asked to compare Juan Soto when he was around the same age as Vaquero.
"“Soto had nowhere near the tools this kid [has].” He does, however, share a similar passion for the sport.”“The tools are remarkably present when you see them on the field,. The most important tool by him, this kid loves to play the game. He’s been trained in a place…it’s like a farm and he’s up every day at 7:00 working on his trade and that’s impressive for a kid that age to wake up at that time of the day and work on something that he wants to do for the rest of his life.”"
MLB Pipeline broke down his skillset stating,
"“Vaquero was originally a left-handed hitter, but he learned to switch hit once he left Cuba, which has resulted in improved pitch recognition and more confidence at the plate. At 6-foot-3 and close to 190 pounds, he is a physical specimen with tons of raw strength and power. He can really cover ground in center field, shows a strong arm and has a chance to be a plus defender at the position. He plays hard with lots of energy and shows tons of natural instinct in practice and in games.”"
Washington spent $4.9 million (a club record) of their $5,179,700 on Vaquero leaving little to spend on other players.
The other notable signing was Jorgelys Mota, a 16-year-old shortstop out of the Dominican Republic for $250,000.
Washington signed eight other players including Marlon Perez, LHP; Jeremy Bautista, C; Albert Casado, INF; Ramon Cuevas, RHP; Misael Mojica, INF; Miguel Moreno, RHP; Helder Rosario, C; and Camilo Sanchez, RHP.