Osorio, who turns 17 in late March, signed for a $2.2 million bonus, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Free Press. The right-handed hitter ranks No. 13 on MLB Pipeline's top 50 international prospects and No. 10 on Baseball America's top 50 list.
At 6 feet and 172 pounds, Osorio has power potential because of his bat speed and is expected to stay at shortstop throughout his development. He lives in Caracas, Venezuela, but traveled west to Cartagena, Colombia, to meet with the Tigers on Saturday and sign his contract.
"Osorio was an early standout in the scouting process as one of the most advanced players in the 2021 class," Baseball America's report on Osorio reads. "He has high-end bat speed for his age, with quick wrists and an aggressive swing that he snaps through the zone quickly. That bat speed helps him drive the ball with impact and gives him a chance to develop into a power-hitting shortstop as he fills out. Osorio's best tools are on the offensive side, but he has the actions, athleticism and arm strength that could allow him to stay at shortstop."
The @tigers are linked to Javier Osorio, one of the most advanced players in the 2021 class.
Where does the 16-year-old SS rank on our International Big Board?https://t.co/OcKn6RZw5Q pic.twitter.com/iSLdV30KcT
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) December 16, 2021
The Tigers agreed with a second Venezuelan shortstop, 17-year-old Samuel Gil, for a $1.2 million signing bonus. Baseball America ranks Gil as the No. 21 international prospect, but MLB Pipeline doesn't include him in its top 50.
Gil is scheduled to officially sign with the Tigers on Monday.
The organization also landed Venezuelan catcher Josue Briceno ($800,000), Dominican shortstop Heison Sanchez ($800,000), Dominican infielder Heison Sanchez, Dominican outfielder Delvis Matos, Dominican shortstop Reylin Perez and Dominican outfielder Junior Quezada.
The bonuses were first reported by MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez.
The Tigers entered Saturday with a $5,721,200 international bonus pool. The amount of money teams can spend is determined by MLB based on market size. The Tigers are in the second biggest of the four bonus-pool tiers, along with the Milwaukee Brewers, Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins.
Gil is a 5-9, 154-pound right-handed hitter from Anzoategui state, located on the eastern side of Venezuela.
"Gil drew a lot of attention from scouts, more so for his in-game skills than his raw tools. He's an instinctive, high baseball IQ player who puts together consistent quality at-bats with an easy swing, good contact skills and an all-fields approach to get on base frequently," Baseball America's reports. "Gil isn't a huge power threat, but he puts a surprising charge into the ball for his smaller, slender size. His game savvy also shows up in the field, where he has a good internal clock, plays under control and has a strong arm."
As for last year's class, the Tigers completed their high-priced international signings in January 2021: Dominican shortstop Cristian Santana for $2.95 million (franchise-record bonus) and Venezuelan shortstop Abel Bastidas for $1.175 million.
Santana, ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Tigers' No. 9 overall prospect, hit .269 with nine home runs, 30 walks and 46 strikeouts across 54 games in the Dominican Summer League last season. Bastidas, ranked No. 19, hit .188 with two homers, 35 walks and 46 strikeouts over 54 games in the same rookie-level league.
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Before Santana held the team record for a signing bonus, the title belonged to Cuban outfielder Roberto Campos. He signed for $2.85 million in July 2019 and played his first professional season in 2021, hitting .228 with eight homers, 17 walks and 41 strikeouts in 39 games in the Florida Complex League.
Campos is the Tigers' No. 8 prospect.
Venezuelan shortstop Manuel Sequera also signed with the Tigers in 2019, agreeing to a $750,000 bonus. He won the 2021 Florida Complex League MVP award, thanks to a .246 batting average with 11 home runs, 15 walks and 57 strikeouts in 46 gamers.
De La Cruz hit .203 with five home runs, 27 walks and 132 strikeouts over 83 games between the Florida Complex League (44 games) and Low-A Lakeland (39 games). Reyes hit .184 with seven homers, 12 walks and 73 strikeouts in 48 games. He spent the entire 2021 season in the FCL.
Reyes is the Tigers' No. 24 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, while De La Cruz comes in at No. 29 on the top 30 list.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers make bold move, sign Venezuelan SS Javier Osorio