The Nationals History of International Signings
The Nationals International Signings can be looked at in two eras, pre Smiley Gonzalez and post Smiley Gonzalez. Smiley Gonzalez was a prospect for the Nationals who signed in 2006. Three years later, he was the focus of a federal investigation because he had lied about his age; this would cause the Nationals to rebuild their entire international signing process.
After 2009 the Nationals began a whole new process for signing international players, and Nationals fans have Johnny DiPuglia to thank for turning the system around. Once DiPuglia started to make changes, the signings began to roll in again. Players like Wilmer Difo, Raudy Read, and Reynaldo Lopez would join the team in the years to follow.
These signings all led up to 2013 where things would begin to change. The Nationals signed the 29th ranked international prospect that year in Anderson Franco for $900,000 and a guy named Victor Robles for just over $200,000. After signing Robles, the number of signings began to increase.
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In 2014 the Nationals would use their $2,188,000 to sign five prospects, who unfortunately did not turn into much. In 2015 the Nationals international signing team would produce their biggest signing ever in Juan Soto (note: they almost snagged Acuna too).
The Nationals would continue to add guys like Yasel Antuna, Luis Garcia, Israel Pineda, Eddy Yean, Daniel Marte, Jeremy De La Rosa, Roismar Quintana, and Andry Lara in the years that followed.
These players can make impacts for this club, and Garcia has shown some flashes in the big leagues, while Yean was just the center of a trade package that brought us Josh Bell. Not every international signing will be successful, but since DiPuglia rebuilt the Nationals system, the Nationals are now a force to be reckoned with in the International Market.
The new reputation certainly has to have helped land us a top-level guy in this international signing period.