Dominican signing is huge for Astros

Astros general manager Ed Wade announced Tuesday that the Astros signed 16-year old Dominican free agent outfielder Ariel Ovando to a 2011 Minor League contract. The Astros’ front office was giddy over the signing of Ovando, who got a signing bonus of between $2.6 and $2.8 million. That’s the equivalent of a high first-round draft pick.

Needless to say, this guy isn’t a chump.

Ovando will turn 17 on Sept. 15 and is expected to spend this season at the Astros’ Latin American complex in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic. He will then participate in the instructional league in Kissimmee, Fla., in September.

“We’re extremely excited to get Ariel into the Astros’ organization,” Wade said. “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 and should move quickly through the Minor League system.”

Here are scouting reports on Ovando: 

Felix Francisco, special asst. to the G.M./Latin American operations: 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.

Clarence Johns, Eastern regional supervisor: 2XL frame. Long, lanky features. High waist with extra long arms and legs. Has the frame of Fred McGriff with the long arms and legs of Darryl Strawberry. Will be a middle of the order bat with 30 plus home runs and 100 RBI potential. Will drive the ball to all fields. Future strong defender with arm strength to hold runners in check. Makes solid contact with ease. Plays the game with confidence and youthful exuberance. Very engaging personality. Reminiscent of Jason Heyward (Braves) and Dominic Brown (Phillies) as amateurs.

Bobby Heck, assistant G.M./scouting director: Impact player. Large, lean and loose frame. Broad, sloped shoulders. High, trim waist. Body similar to Carlos Delgado. Will hit 3-4 in a lineup. Advanced hitter for age. Quiet confidence with a boyish smile.  Will be a big man.  Easy, fast bat with hitter’s hands. Reminds me of Jason Heyward, Fred McGriff and Carlos Delgado.

Ricky Bennett, assistant G.M./player development director: Tall, athletic frame, good build with room to fill out; body type similar to Cliff Floyd. Corner OF with power to all fields. Good bat speed and plate coverage. Ball jumps off bat and has 25-30 home run type power. 


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