Chicago White Sox's Alexei Ramirez, center is mobbed by his teammates after hitting the game-winning RBI single off New York Mets relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins, during the ninth inning of an interleague baseball game Tuesday, June 25, 2013, in Chicago. The White Sox won 5-4. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
The international signing window for MLB opened on Tuesday, and the Chicago White Sox burst out of the gate with a significant signing.
The team signed 16-year-old outfielder Micker Adolfo Zapata, the No. 2 international prospect according to MLB.com rankings and the No.9 international prospect according to Baseball America. At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Zapata drew a ton of interest from various teams, and will receive a $1.6 million signing bonus from the Sox, the biggest such bonus the team has ever given out to an international signing.
"Micker is a terrific young man who is tremendously talented," White Sox GM Rick Hahn said at a press conference in the Dominican Republic. "As we've gotten to know Micker and his family, we've been even more and more impressed. We cannot say enough about his baseball potential and his future with the White Sox."
Hahn was convinced to sign Adolfo Zapata by special assistant to the GM for international operations Marco Paddy. Paddy cited the youngster's "makeup" and "approach to the game" in reasons why the team pursued and signed him, and also said that his "power displays can be jaw-dropping."
Here is a video of Zapata, provided by MLB.com:
Hahn gave Paddy a huge amount of credit for the signing. "Marco spent the time building a really srong relationship with Micker and a great rapport with his family," he said. "Today's signing reinforces our expanding commitment as an organization to scouting and signing top young, talented players from Latin America."
That philosophy of expanding the team's reach in Latin America has been a point of emphasis for the team since Paddy joined the organization in 2011, and the Zapata signing is a sign that the strategy might be really starting to pay off.