ST. LOUIS • Although one of the leading advocates of their presence and scouting effort in Latin America has left the Cardinals, the club continues to invest in potential talent from the Dominican and have deals in place with two more teenage pitchers.
The Cardinals have agreements with righthander Andres Serrano and lefty Erick Hurtado. The team is awaiting the results of an investigation that validates the players' ages and their paperwork before making the signings official. Ben Badler of Baseball America was the first to report the signings, doing so over the weekend in two articles (Serrano here; Hurtado there).
Badler reports that Serrano has a deal that includes a $750,000 bonus. That would make it one of the top-five offered by the Cardinals in the past few years, though not all of those deals were completed.
Carlos Martinez, one of the Cardinals' top pitching prospects, agreed to a deal with a $1.1 million bonus. When the Cardinals first signed him his name was Carlos Matias, but during the investigation process they had to confirm his birthdate and part of that process meant connecting him to paperwork that identified him as Martinez, his mother's last name.
Both of the recently signed Dominican pitchers are 17.
Badler writes about Serrano:
Serrano, 17, has a long-armed, projectable 6-foot-3, 190-pound frame and a fastball that scouts have said they've seen range anywhere from 90-95 mph. Serrano is a good athlete who also throws a curveball and a changeup, with the curveball the most advanced of his secondary offerings.
And, concering Hurtado, Badler writes:
Hurtado, who is from Santo Domingo, is 6-foot-3, 200 pounds and threw around 86-88 mph as July 2 approached last year, but more recently he's pitched in the high-80s and touched 90-91 mph. He's still raw as a pitcher but he shows some feel to spin a curveball.
The deal with Serrano was apparently agreed upon in October and has been going through the investigation process. Badler makes the point that if the deal is finalized, the bonus would be the largest paid to a Dominican pitcher in 2011.