Baseball America's Ben Badler is reporting that the Astros have signed 16-year old Dominican outfielder Ariel Ovando for reportedly between $2.6 and $2.8 million.
"This is a high-caliber talent who we think has a chance to be an impact bat and would be a definite first-rounder in any draft...We think there's hit skill here more than just raw bat speed and a high ceiling for power, too. We think he has damage to do both as a hitter and with power."
Ovando will begin his career in right field, but the biggest draw for most scouts is his outstanding physical frame at 6-foot-4, 180 pounds, and lefthanded power.
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Ovando, who will be 17 on September 15, has signed a minor league contract for 2011. This season, he is expected to first report to the Astros Latin American complex in Boca Chica, DR, in the upcoming days and then is scheduled to participate in the Florida Instructional League in Kissimmee, FL in September.
"We're extremely excited to get Ariel into the Astros organization. (Special Assistant to the GM) Felix (Francisco) did a lot of work on this kid and we also were able to have some of our other evaluators scout him over the past several months. Ariel profiles as a middle of the order power hitter with excellent defensive skills. He profiles as a front line major league right fielder and should move quickly through the minor league system."
Darryl Strawberry type body. Large frame. Long arms and legs with a lot of room to fill out. Everyday right fielder with the ability to hit for average and power. Ball carries off bat. Will be an above average right fielder with an average to above-average arm. Smart kid who has a clear goal in life and is dedicated.
Read the Astros.com article for scouting reports, but all indications are that this is an excellent signing.