7/7/2014 1:15 P.M. ET
Astros Sign Four International Free Agents
Agree to terms with four players from the Dominican Republic
By / MLB.com
HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros agreed to terms on contracts with four international free agents today: outfielder Angel DeLeon, center fielder Ronny Rafael, outfielder Hector Martinez and RHP Cristofer Melendez. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed. The announcement was made by Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow.
Rafael (6-1, 180, 16 years old), Martinez (6-1, 185, 16 years old) and DeLeon (6-1, 170, 18 years old) are from Santo Domingo, DR while Melendez (6-3, 170, 16 years old) hails from Azua, DR. All four players will report to the Astros complex in the Dominican Republic and were scouted and signed by Astros Director of International Oz Ocampo.
"Ronny Rafael is a Dominican center fielder with a rare power/speed combination and a potential impact bat," said Ocampo. "His body type, overall tool package, and football-type athleticism remind us of a young Brian Jordan. With his athleticism and closing speed, Ronny has the chance to become a plus defender in center field. He stands out for his tireless work ethic, competitiveness, and desire to get better. With the combination of his tools and makeup, we believe he has the ability to make the proper adjustments and impact the game in several ways."
"Hector Martinez is a strong, athletic and projectable Dominican outfielder who projects to have average to solid average tools across the board," said Ocampo. "Our area scout, Rafael Belen, did a tremendous job in identifying Hector as a prospect when he was just 13 years old. He is a line-drive hitter with bat speed, a clean bat path, and occasional over-the-fence power. Hector will start at center field, but depending on his overall physical development, could move to right field with a solid average arm in the future."
Ocampo also commented on Melendez and DeLeon: "Cristofer Melendez is a tall, projectable Dominican right-handed pitcher with clean arm action and solid mechanics. He throws a fastball that jumps out of his hand, and has solid feel for a curveball."
"Angel DeLeon is a tall, projectable and athletic Dominican outfielder with plus bat speed who projects to hit for both average and power. He shows an advanced approach at the plate as well as solid hitting mechanics, a fluid swing and a clean bat path."
During last year's international signing period (2013-14), the Astros signed 36 players from the Dominican Republic, including top July 2 signings SS Joan Mauricio, SS/3B Wander Franco, SS Wilson Amador, 2B Frankeny Fernandez and SS/CF Osvaldo Duarte.
The Astros have now signed nine international free agents this season, as the following players were signed last week: C Brandon Benavente, RHP Franklin Perez, SS Juan Pineda, SS Ozziel Sanchez and SS Miguelangel Sierra.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.