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Nats sign free agent 3B Anderson Franco

Aug 15, 2013, 4:33 PM EDT

Photo by the Associated Press
The Washington Nationals have signed international free agent Anderson Franco, a 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic who projects as a third baseman at the professional level.
Franco was ranked as the top international free agent by Baseball America who had yet to be signed. He was slotted 29th out of 30 overall for players available this year.
A right-handed power hitter, Franco is listed at 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. He is said to have a strong throwing arm and plus range defensively at third.

General manager Mike Rizzo and Nationals director of international scouting Johnny DiPuglia made the announcement via the team.
  1. Teddy Rochlis - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:39 PM

    At least we got into the international market. Hopefully we see him in oh about 5 years. Until then, we will see good luck to you the newest national.

  2. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:45 PM

    16 year old from the Dominican, eh? What's that old saying? Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Please tell us this kid doesn't have a cutesy nickname like "Smiley."

  3. NatsLady - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    Storen back up, Mattheus to Syracuse.

  4. bowdenball - Aug 15, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    This is great news. Nice to see the Nationals active in the international market again. It was terrible for the organization when the Smiley affair took them out of the market for a while. I'd happily sign ten more Dominican teens who don't pan out if it means one Pedro Martinez or Adrian Beltre.

  5. Tcostant - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:16 PM

    How many $$$

  6. Theophilus T. S. - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Twenty-ninth out of 30 isn't exactly cause for parades. Tell me if there's a better example but the last Dominican signee they got excited about was Randy Ready — and he's at, what?, Gulf Coast rookie league now?

  7. bowdenball - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    Theophilus T. S. said…"Twenty-ninth out of 30 isn't exactly cause for parades."He's not 29th out of 30 Dominican prospects. He's 29th out of tens of thousands. He's just the next to last ranked one in the BA list:http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/where-the-top-30-international-prospects-have-signed/Saying he's not worthwhile because he's 29th of 30 ranked players is like saying the #14 book on the New York Times bestseller book must be selling terribly because it's ranked 14th out of 15 books.BTW MLB.com ranks him 16th in their Top 30 International Prospects list.

  8. bowdenball - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Sorry that should read 30 international prospects, not 30 Dominican prospects

  9. The Real Feel Wood. Accept no substitutes. - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    $900K according to MLBTR.

  10. bowdenball - Aug 15, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    The attitude of Feel Wood and Tehophilus seems to have come straight from Homer J. Simpson. We tried and we failed before, so the lesson is never try.Thankfully the Nats aren't quite as defeatist.

  11. karlkolchak - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    A more valid complaint is that while other teams are spending many millions in the IFA market, the Nats are going cheap with a guy who if we are lucky will be a contributor about the time Ryan Zimmerman's contract is up.

  12. bowdenball - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:26 PM

    That's not really a valid complaint either. This is how you sign Latin American players. With the exception of Cubans who you can't sign until they defect, they generally sign when they're 16 and then you put them in your system to develop. You don't hand tens of millions of dollars over to raw 16 year olds. In fact, under the new rules you can't.If you are complaining that they haven't been active in the market for Japanese or Cuban players, that's a totally different market and a totally different process. It's also a risky one; they're far more expensive, and for every Puig, Chapman or Darvish there are multiple Betancourts, Mayas and Nishiokas.

  13. Manassas Nats' Fan - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:36 PM

    Lets see him grow through the system and by 22 be ready.

  14. karlkolchak - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    There you go again, bowdenball, pooh-poohing any rational, reasoned criticism. Yeah, too bad the IFA market is so "risky" that it's a good thing the Nats missed out on such complete duds as Cepedes, Puig and Darvish. The team has the money, they ought to start spending it and acting like a big market team.

  15. Nats106 - Aug 15, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Well, as long as he's really 16 and hasn't been spotted at biogenesis labs (or Balco) in the last 12 months, it's worth the flyer.Anybody want to place odds on that?

  16. bowdenball - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    I agree with you to some extent, karlkolchak. I wish they would have taken a shot on Darvish among others, although I disagree on Cespedes, who doesn't seem to be adjusting now that MLB has a book on him and whose current numbers at age 27 are worse than Adam LaRoche's at age 33. All I'm saying is that it's a TOTALLY different conversation than whether and how they're spending on young Latin American talent. It's a complete buyer's market for the Cuban and Japanese guys, you're buying major league ready talent usually in their mid 20s, it's high risk and high reward, rather than about scouting and developing as much young talent as possible.

  17. bowdenball - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:08 PM

    And although you're right that the Nats have a lot of money, I'd rather see them spend it on a guy like Ian Desmond who has as 90% chance of being an above-average major leaguer for the next 5 years than on a coin flip international player. You just do both; at some point the money runs out.

  18. Tcostant - Aug 15, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    bowdenball said… I agree with you to some extent, karlkolchak. I wish they would have taken a shot on Darvish among others.Me – That what I've been saying. I was pressing for them to get Yu ever since seeing him live at the World Baseball Classic in 2009. He was the best guy on any of the teams, by far.

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