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Red Sox sign Dominican shortstop Wendell Rijo for $625,000

07.06.12 at 8:49 pm ET
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The Red Sox signed Dominican middle infielder Wendell Rijo. (Photo courtesy Dominican Prospect League)

According to a press release from the Dominican Prospect League (DPL), the Red Sox have signed 16-year-old shortstop Wendell Rijo for $625,000. Major League Baseball has already completed the background investigation on Rijo, and so he will enter into the Red Sox system as a shortstop and second baseman.

Rijo came to Fort Myers this spring (and actually suffered a knee injury there) while touring the US with the DPL. The Red Sox, according to a team source, saw him as being advanced for his age with a very good feel for the game. The team liked his swing, seeing him as one of the top hitters in the Dominican prospect pool, whose right-handed stroke demonstrated surprising pull power given his 5-foot-11, 170-pound frame. Defensively, the Sox viewed him as a player with sure hands and an average arm.

He performed well in competition against fellow prospects in the DPL, having won MVP honors of the league’s All-Star Game on the strength of a walkoff hit. Here’s the DPL release describing the native of La Romana:

Although Wendell Rijo wasn’t the best runner or had the best power, he was undoubtedly the best baseball player in the Dominican Prospect League. His future tools grade out to be a solid Major League player; He’s a plus runner, has a solid average arm and defense, and should hit for average and power.

Rijo is an outstanding prospect from a number of different perspectives. He is the son of a scout and has a deeper and mature understanding of the game than his fellow DPL prospects. He’s also the oldest of the players, having just missed being eligible to sign July 2, 2011 by four days, and is clearly the leader and most respected player of the group.

He’s a 6.6 runner with a quick first step. He has plus range and a very quick release at shortstop and the instinctive ability to make plays. Offensively, Rijo has surprising pull power from the right side of the plate presently being usable game power. He approach is similar to Dustin Pedroia’s in that there’s a coiled aggression and explosion at the ball that generates more bat speed and carry on the ball than what you would expect from a player that size. A distinguishing part of Rijo’s hitting mechanics is that he keeps his hands above the ball as well as any young hitter we’ve ever seen.

Here’s video from the DPL website of Rijo:

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