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August 18, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Some future Mariners from another country get a look at Safeco Field

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If you missed Geoff Baker Live! earlier (see video replay below), we gave you a rundown of yesterday’s Safeco Field visit by draft picks Danny Hultzen and Brad Miller, as well as the arrival of Chance Ruffin from Detroit as the player-to-be-named in the Doug Fister deal. Someone wanted to know whether Ruffin’s inclusion changed my view of the Doug Fister trade. Somebody asked me who my biggest “surprise” player is from 2011. Here’s a hint: the guys with a 17-game hitting streak.
Had a chance before last night’s game to meet with a trio of awestruck-looking Venezuelans who were making their first visit to Seattle and Safeco Field.
The guy in the middle is outfielder Jose Leal, 16, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound right-handed hitting outfielder from Guarico, Venezuela. On the right is Victor Sanchez, 16, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-handed pitcher from Paez, Venezuela.
Both Leal and Sanchez agreed to terms a couple of months back, but were in Seattle for physicals to complete the deals, which were announced yesterday.
The third guy, on the left, is Andres Brito, 18, a 6-foot-3, 238-pound third baseman from Caracas, Venezuela who is in his second season in the lower levels of Seattle’s minor league ranks. He flew here for a physical the team wanted him to take as well.

I chatted with them briefly and asked what their favorite site to see has been here so far. They all agreed it was the ballpark, saying it was the most beautiful they’d ever been inside.


Mariners international scouting director Bob Engle, who is noted for his prowess in finding gem-type players in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, said in a release that Sanchez was the team’s No. 1-rated prospect internationally and “is a very strong and sturdy-built young man who has sound pitching mechanics and a quick arm. He is a power pitcher with above-average arm strength and has a chance to have a power curveball.”
On Leal, he said: “Jose is a big, strong, raw-boned player who has the potential to be an above average Major League player. We feel he has an ability to hit and hit for power.”
Hopefully, since he’s a right-handed bat. Doesn’t always work out at Safeco, but the true power guys find a way to manage.
We’ll have to look back on this post in five years or so and see what happened. But for now, they’re all living the dream.

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