The MLB international free agent signing period opened on last week and the Nationals wasted no time, signing 16 year-old OF Victor Hurtado (Sabana Perdida, Dominican Republic) and 17 year-old 3B Angel Feliz (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), the Nos. 20 and 23 international prospects on MLB Pipeline, to deals worth $2.8 million and $1.7 million, respectively. Both are seen as advanced hitters and Hurtado is viewed as an above-average defensive OF. While both Feliz and Hurtado are highly-touted international prospects, Hurtado is much more in the spotlight and is widely viewed as the best player the Nationals signed. So who is Victor Hurtado and how will he fit into the future of the Washington Nationals?
Born May 27th, 2007, Victor Hurtado is a 16 year-old outfielder from Sabana Perdida, Dominican Republic. Standing at 6'3" and weighing in at 175 pounds, Hurtado bats and throws left-handed. Fausto Severino, the Director of International Operations for the Nationals, said in an interview with reporters earlier this week that "Hurtado's got a sweet, left-handed stroke" and that "[he has] a very projectable frame." As seen in the video below, Hurtado has a smooth and compact swing, one that has enamored scouts all around the league. His advanced hitting ability for his age, combined with his athleticism and baseball IQ, are the main attractors for scouts when it comes to Hurtado, and the Nationals pounced when they had the opportunity to sign him.
The Nationals clearly have Hurtado as part of their vision for the future of the franchise. "[Hurtado] did everything with ease, he’s somebody that you could dream of as far as upside. He’s somebody that we’re projecting to hit in the middle of the lineup when it’s all said and done, and somebody that can actually play the field" Severino said. "[He’s] a kid that works very hard, unbelievable makeup. And he’s a kid that carries himself with a lot of confidence, and we like that a lot about him." Not just any prospect can get praise like this at such a young age.
"He's somebody that we're projecting to hit in the middle of the lineup when it's all said and done, and somebody that can actually play the field."- Fausto Severino on Victor Hurtado
If it wasn't clear already, the Nationals are thrilled that they were able to sign Victor Hurtado, and rightfully so. He is very advanced for his age and seems to have all the tools to be able to become an everyday big leaguer. Considering the Nationals' track record of player development, whether or not Hurtado pans out is very much up in the air, but if he does, the Nationals will have an elite and exciting talent on their hands. He's only 16 years old, so he has plenty of time to develop. Let's just hope the Nationals' player development doesn't fail once again.