The Giants have won World Series titles thanks to Venezuelan players like Pablo Sandoval, Gregor Blanco and Yusmeiro Petit, and the international class they announced Friday morning was heavy on prospects from the South American country.
On the sport's annual signing day, the Giants announced a class of 34 international prospects, 19 of whom were signed out of Venezuela. The group also includes 11 from the Dominican Republic, one from Curacao, one from Colombia, one from Mexico and one from Panama. The Giants signed 11 pitchers and 23 position players.
The jewel of this year's class is a shortstop, Diego Velasquez of Venezuela, who was ranked 22nd on MLB.com's list of top international prospects.
According to MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez, who was first to report nearly every international deal, the Giants gave Velasquez $1 million. Sanchez wrote that Velasquez is one of the more well-rounded prospects in this year's class and is a switch-hitter with a plus arm at short.
"He consistently shows his soft hands, great footwork and instincts in games," Sanchez wrote. "At the plate, Velasquez might be a better hitter from the left side of the batter's box, but makes consistent, hard contact from both sides. He has a good feel for the strike zone and shows an advanced approach. He has also been praised for his high baseball IQ and passion for the game."
It'll be years before the Giants know the true talent level of this class, but they have had success in the international market in recent years. In 2018 they signed Marco Luciano out of the Dominican Republic and Luis Matos out of Venezuela, with both now ranking among their top five prospects, and Luciano ranking in the top 20 overall in the minors. Luciano could reach the big leagues next year, four years after he signed.