Back when the international prospect rankings were beginning to take shape in early fall, initial indications were that arguably the best catching prospect, Jesus Galiz, was preparing to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a New York Yankee.
However, in the weeks that passed, Galiz has seemingly had a change of heart. Within a short time, the newly turned 17-year-old resident of Maracaibo, Venezuela, will make it official that he’s signing with the Dodgers.
Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times was among the first to report the news late last month.
Upon bringing the right-handed hitting Galiz into the organization, Los Angeles will seemingly expand its stronghold on the youth catching market.
As pointed out by our friends at Future Dodgers, Galiz will join fellow Venezuelans Keibert Ruiz, Diego Cartaya and Yeiner Fernandez in what could be the most talented quartet of catching prospects in baseball.
For those with a subscription to Baseball America, you can check out a story published earlier this week by Ben Badler that profiles the youngster quite extensively.
But Galiz’s path changed two years ago when he began working behind the dish.
His “quick feet, strong arm, and high baseball IQ,” alongside the overall athleticism that he displayed as a middle infielder, have helped him elevate to the top of the international prospect rankings. He still has the soft hands of a middle infielder, but now he uses them to receive and block pitches. “The internal clock and quick release he used to throw runners out from shortstop now make him a threat behind the plate.”
Current rankings show Galiz as the seventh-highest rated international prospect, as ranked by MLB Pipeline.
“Galiz also shows advanced skills at the plate. The teen features a quick and compact swing with the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He also projects to have plus power in the future. Galiz still models his overall game after Torres, especially in the batter’s box,” MLB Pipeline writes.
According to Badler, “the challenges with international signings this year are even more pronounced than usual due to Covid-19. Teams were prohibited by MLB rules from seeing players in person for six months between March and September, even if it were just to check in on players they’re expecting to sign. Even now, clubs are prohibited from bringing amateur players into their academies.”
Badler also states that “during their teenage years, players can change significantly. They can put on 30 pounds, grow a few inches, go from a 30-runner to a 60-runner, or from a below-average arm to a plus arm and gain five MPH of velocity. Or they stagnate and not progress the way a team had anticipated.” Those changes can sometimes happen in as quickly as a few months.
Galiz celebrated his 17th birthday on Dec. 19.
The international signing period officially opens on Jan. 15.