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Rays to sign Cuban teenage flamethrower Sandy Gastón for $2.6 million

The 16-year-old has hit 100 mph on the gun

Sandy Gastón pictured at the Rays complex in the Dominican Republic.

Just behind the hype surrounding the brothers Mesa and their signing with the Miami Marlins has been the steady drumbeat for Sandy Gastón,

A hard-throwing right-hander, Gastón has been clocked as high as triple-digits at the age of 16, leaving much unknown as to what he will be a decade from now. Nevertheless, per Marc Topkin, the Rays “have agreed to terms on a $2.61 million deal, pending a physical exam, which is standard, and finalization of the contract.”

This is a lot of money for the Rays to drop on a teenage pitching prospect, almost double what might have been projected for a pitcher this age, but an apparent bidding war has ended with the Rays securing the rights to the highly rated flamethrower.

Baseball America predicted it would take a signing near $3 million, labeling Gastón with, “uncanny velocity for his age and [...] one of the hardest throwing 16-year-old pitchers ever.”

Sandy Gastón was the last remaining name on the international prospect lists, as his signing had to clear regulators before it was allowed.

Baseball America ranked Gastón in their top-25 international prospects for 2018, but assigned even high praise at No. 16 overall:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50

[...] some scouts wonder if he will be able to command the high velocity on a consistent basis. But his skill is extraordinary, and Gaston is the type of pitcher any club would like to put it in its system

Most write ups appear to agree with’s assessment of Gastón’s stuff, but the site’s implied 50-grade is aggressive. As a 15-year old in the 18-year old Cuban league, Gastón had as many walks as strikeouts before coming stateside, leading to some concerns that his off-speed stuff wasn’t missing enough bats, or that Gastón simply wasn’t hitting the zone. On the other hand, see the ages noted above.

Fangraphs has yet to see a major league projection due the the unknowns of a pitcher this young coming stateside, and has assigned a 40-grade overall due to concerns over his frame being “potentially maxed out” and relief work being his path from the jump.

Landing Gastón after the Marlins maxed out their limits on the Mesa brothers is a huge win for the Rays international organization, as TB had only the third-largest pool remaining on the market with most international prospects already signed. The Rays had previously acquired spending pool money in the mid-season Tommy Pham and Jonny Venters trades ($750,000 total added).

The Rays have now signed twelve 2018 international prospects, including Sandy Gastón, and six of Baseball America’s top-50:

  • Alejandro Pie, ss, Dominican Republic (No. 13 prospect) — $1.4 million
  • Sandy Gastón, rhp, Cuba (No. 24 prospect) — $2.61 million
  • Ryson Polonius, ss, Curacao (No. 30 prospect)
  • Rainer Polonius, ss, Curacao (No. 31 prospect)
  • Estanli Castillo, of, Dominican Republic (No. 40 prospect) — $350,000
  • Daury del Rosario, SS, Dominican Republic (No. 50 international prospect) — $600,000

Other signings:

  • Justino Dominguez, rhp, Dominican Republic — $325,000
  • Brayan Dum, lhp, Venezuela — $385,000
  • Anthony Molina, rhp, Venezuela
  • Jose Gonzalez, rhp, Dominican Republic
  • Daniel Gonzalez, lhp, Venezuela — $400,000
  • Felix Salguera, c, Venezuela

Sandy Gastón’s signing was first reported by Neftali Ruiz.