Brewers officially sign top Dominican prospect Gilbert Lara | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

A long-rumored signing is now official — the Brewers have signed Dominican 16-year-old Gilbert Lara, one of the best prospects in this year’s international class. The Brewers are giving Lara a signing bonus of $3.2 million, shattering their previous high on the international market of $800,000.

The Brewers went into the international signing period with a soft cap of just over $2.6 million to spend. By going over that cap with this signing alone, the Brewers are either going to have to trade for more international pool money or forfeit their right to sign any single player for more than $250,000 next year.

Lara’s offensive potential would seem to make that sacrifice worth making.

Baseball America ranks Lara as the 5th-best prospect available this month, with the second-best raw power tool in the class. Others have him ranked closer to the top of the list. Either way, it’s safe to call him as a Top-5 talent. He’s been described as a bit pull-happy, but what teenager with monstrous power isn’t? There are some similarities between Lara’s scouting report and Jake Gatewood’s, but most make it sound like Lara has less work to do when it comes to translating raw power into game power and improving the hit tool.

Already 6’3″, if he’s going to stay in the infield, it’ll probably be at third base. BA doesn’t seem optimistic on his chances to stick defensively at third, though, so an eventual move to the outfield or first base may be in his future. It’s important to remember that he’s only 16, though, so there’s plenty of time for that area of his game to develop. He likely won’t even see Rookie League action in Maryvale for a couple more years.

Recent collective bargaining agreement changes have made it harder for small-market teams like the Brewers to build through the draft, so this renewed interest in the international market is encouraging. This is the third time in two years the Brewers have broken their record for highest international bonus after signing Nicolas Pierre and Franly Mallen to $800,000 bonuses last year.

Pairing this move with last month’s draft class, and the Brewers suddenly have something they haven’t had in years — more than a few high-ceiling playes with star potential. After all of the hand-wringing about prospect rankings, it appears the Brewers finally have the star potential guys that tend to land on those lists to go with the slew of role players they already had.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. L says: July 2, 2014

    Awesome News! Now we just need to trade for some additional international pool money… approximately $600K worth — I believe.

    • dbug says: July 2, 2014

      Someone awhile back mentioned that would have been a good return for Brad Mills. Curious why that didn’t materialize.

      • Nicholas Zettel says: July 3, 2014

        I don’t think it should be surprising that the Brewers did not receive anything via trade for a player who was going to be freely available.

        Now that the Crew have spent so much, they ought to go bananas and sign even more — get a really big haul this year, and then go through the penalty next year.

        • dbug says: July 3, 2014

          If I understand correctly, they wouldn’t have really been receiving anything tangible for Mills. The trade would have just been for pool allotment, not actual money. If another team wasn’t going to use theirs, it doesn’t hurt them to trade it. It would still be the Brewers using their own money to sign the players. It’s a moot point now, I just wonder if it was ever seriously considered.

        • Nicholas Zettel says: July 3, 2014

          Now that is rather interesting — that sounds like trading an “option to spend money” for Mills. You’re right that that sounds quite different than trading actual money. Going to have to look into that…

          • Ryan Topp says: July 3, 2014

            Yes, that is what trading “pool money” is. It’s not trading actual cash, it’s just trading the right to spend cash w/o penalties.

    • L says: July 2, 2014

      Seeing reports that the deal was actually worth $3.4M + incentives — so maybe we need approximately $800K+ in a trade.

  2. Matt T says: July 3, 2014

    I can’t wait to find out why Keith Law thinks this guy will tank, now that Milwaukee has signed him!

    • dbug says: July 3, 2014

      Has Keith Law responded yet? It was pretty obvious that Melvin was talking about him. Law doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that could let something go without having to have the last word.

    • Ross B says: July 3, 2014

      Law will probably think he will tank because almost all J2 signings tank. Seriously guys, Lara is 16. Even being one of the best in this class, odds are really high that he never makes the bigs.

      • dbug says: July 3, 2014

        I’m more interested in what he has to say about Melvin’s thinly-veiled comments about a “stats guy” that doesn’t think Gennett can be any more than a backup/utility guy.


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