The Orioles opened the 2024 international signing period by coming to agreements with 19 prospects on Monday.

There were no record bonuses given out this year, as has been the case for the past three seasons, but the Orioles still doled out $1.3 million to shortstop Emilio Sánchez, their top signing, and $950,000 to outfielder Stiven Martinez. Both are 16-year-olds from the Dominican Republic and ranked 30th and 28th, respectively, on MLB Pipeline’s top-50 2024 international prospects list.

The Orioles used about $5 million of their $7,114,800 pool for the period, which runs until Dec. 15. A player has to be at least 16 to be eligible to sign.

“We have our eyes on some players,” Koby Perez, the Orioles’ vice president for international scouting, said on a Zoom call from the Dominican Republic. “We’re happy that we have some resources that we feel we’ll do well with.”

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The team believes Sánchez stands out both offensively and defensively. He has good bat speed and the potential for power as he fills out his frame. All of the Orioles scouts evaluated Sánchez, Perez said, including amateur scouts from the U.S.

“We really valued those evaluations on Sánchez,” Perez said. “We stayed on him and we’re able to get him.”

Sánchez was attracted to the Orioles in large part due to the way their major league team carries itself. Their energy and passion shines through on videos, Sánchez said, and he wanted to be a part of a team that also plays with a big heart.

“I’m just really proud of myself,” Sánchez said on a Zoom call through interpreter Brandon Quinones. “I feel really good about my abilities overall. I feel really confident in what I can do overall and I feel really confident about being able to make it to the big leagues in Baltimore one day.”

While the international signing period didn’t officially open until Monday, teams have been watching and making verbal agreements with their current classes for years. The Orioles started talking to Martinez three years ago, but lost connection with him and assumed he was off the market. Francisco Rosario, an international scout for the Orioles, was able to get Baltimore back into the picture. After talks with the family and the agent, they came to an agreement three months ago.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“What really impressed me was the way this organization conducted themselves,” Martinez said through through an interpreter. “It starts at practice, the way they run things around here is really impressive. When I saw that it really attracted me to come and be a part of this.”

The Orioles said Martinez has raw power and an aggressive nature at the plate. Defensively, he has a strong arm but is likely slated to a corner outfield spot.

Among the other players signed today were Ángel García and Jemone Nuel, a pair of 16-year-old switch-hitting shortstops who live in the Dominican Republic. García has the tools defensively, and Perez believes the hitting will come. Nuel projects as someone who will stay in the middle infield and has line-drive power.

“All these players that we signed today — and every time — they have something going for them,” Perez said. “We are just hoping we can get the best from them.”

The additions are another stepping stone for the Orioles, who have increased their efforts in the region after years of low activity.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Last year, the Orioles signed Luis Ayden Almeyda for $2.3 million, the highest international signing bonus given out in franchise history. At $1.3 million, Sánchez receives the third-highest signing bonus, tied with catcher Samuel Basallo, who signed in 2021.

On Tuesday, the Orioles will open a new academy in the Dominican Republic. The facility, which will catch them up to the advances other teams have made in the region, features three full baseball fields; a state-of-the-art weight room, housing for 100 players; and classrooms for on-site education, including English classes.

“This is a great beginning to a new year and a new stage of the Orioles international program,” Perez said. “We think it’s going to be very beneficial to the Orioles to continue infuse new blood and new talent into the organization.”

Danielle Allentuck covers the Orioles for The Baltimore Banner. She previously reported on the Rockies for the Denver Gazette and general sports assignments for The New York Times as part of its fellowship program. A Maryland native, Danielle grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from Ithaca College.

More From The Banner