Report: Blue Jays Sign International Free Agent Catcher Luis Meza
Catcher Luis Meza headlines the Toronto Blue Jays 2021-2022 international amateur free agency class
With a young core and farm system full of international free agent success stories, the Toronto Blue Jays added another bat to the mix when the signing period began Saturday, January 15th.
Headlining Toronto's 2021-2022 class of international free agent signings is 17-year-old catcher Luis Meza. The Jays inked Meza to a $2,250,000 bonus, per MLB Pipeline's Jesse Sanchez . An overall 50-grade prospect, Meza was ranked as the 33rd international prospect in the class per MLB and the 11th ranked youngster on Baseball America's big board.View the original article to see embedded media.
With a "loose, easy swing," per Baseball America, Meza is one of the best young hitters in Venezuela with solid, whole-field contact skills and room in his frame to develop more power. He owns a compact swing with a leg kick, and much of Meza's value comes from his projectability behind the plate. At 17, he has advanced pop-time and a strong arm for a catcher, and joins a long list of recent Venezuelan catching prospects who have broken into professional baseball. Three of baseball's top six catching prospects, per MLB Pipeline, are Venezuelan, with Toronto's Gabriel Moreno (signed as an infielder) joining Los Angeles Dodger Diego Cartaya and New York Met Francisco Alvarez.
Other international prospects c onnected to the Blue Jays, per Baseball America , are Dominican outfielder Jean Carlo Joseph, shortstop Railin Tejada, and pitcher Raudy Gomez.
Meza and the 2022 class join a deep and successful group of international free agents signed by the Blue Jays in recent years. IFAs Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Alejandro Kirk stand out on Toronto's MLB roster and six of the organization's top 10 prospects were acquired via international free agency. Top league-wide prospect Moreno headlines a group that includes infielders Orelvis Martinez, Otto Lopez, Miguel Hiraldo, Estiven Machado, Leo Jimenez, and Manuel Beltre. Beltre topped Toronto's 2021 signing class, when the Jays signed the teenage shortstop with a $2.6 million signing bonus alongside 10 other players.
The 2020-21 and 2021-22 international signing periods were delayed from July to the following January due to COVID-19. Despite the lack of a collective bargaining agreement, the 2021-22 period began on January 15th, 2022 as planned.
H/T Baseball America and MLB Pipeline