The Detroit Tigers already have two Victors on their major league roster. If things go their way, they could eventually add at least one more. Cuban prospect Victor Victor Mesa (known as just “Victor Victor”) and his younger brother, Victor Mesa Jr., have left Cuba to come to America and play Major League Baseball. The brothers, 21 and 16, respectively, are expected to be eligible to sign with MLB teams in the upcoming international signing period (or J2 period) for 2018-19.
Victor Victor, the 21-year-old older brother, is expected to be one of the top prospects in baseball when he signs. Baseball America’s Ben Badler described him as an “elite talent” with “star potential” and “the best young Cuban prospect to become available since Yoan Moncada.” Badler also compared Victor Victor to Washington Nationals outfielder Victor Robles, one of the top prospects in all of baseball. He noted that the elder Mesa brother would be a top 10 pick if he were eligible for this spring’s amateur draft, but still behind likely No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize.
He’s a premium defender in center field who at his best has shown 70 speed and at least a 70 arm on the 20-80 scale. He gets quick reads off the bat and takes sharp routes to cover plenty of ground in center field and make highlight-reel catches, winning a gold glove award in Cuba when he was 17.
There isn’t as much information available on the younger Mesa brother, in part because he has yet to make his professional debut in Cuba. He is of similar height and build to his older brother, and also plays the outfield. Pundits are not sure if the two brothers will look to sign with the same MLB organization.
Now, the important part. The Tigers have a bonus pool of $4,983,500 for the upcoming J2 period. They are in the lowest tier for bonus pools, with other teams having upwards of $6 million to spend on international prospects. Teams are now hard-capped at their bonus pool, and cannot exceed the amount allotted. Eight clubs — the Reds, Athletics, Nationals, Braves, White Sox, Astros, Cardinals and Padres — are hard-capped at spending more than $300,000 on a single prospect due to exceeding previous bonus pool penalties.
While other teams have more money to spend than Detroit, many teams have already agreed to deals with other international prospects. The Tigers are linked with outfielder Jose de la Cruz and shortstop Adinso Reyes, a pair of Dominicans that appear on MLB Pipeline’s top 30 international prospects list for the upcoming J2 period. While bonus figures have not yet been reported, prospects in the same range signed for roughly $1.5 to $2 million last year.
If de la Cruz and Reyes eat up a combined $3.5 million of Detroit’s bonus pool, they would have just under $1.5 million remaining to sign either of the Mesa brothers (assuming they do not sign any other players, as well). Given that several other teams were expected to be “aggressive” on this year’s market prior to the Mesa brothers’ announcement, this could still be a competitive figure for Detroit in their pursuit of either Cuban outfielder.
May 11, 2018