San Diego Padres gives Venezuelan catcher Ethan Salas, 16, $5.6 million to kick off international signing period

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres signed 16-year-old catcher Ethan Salas from Caracas, Venezuela, with a $5.6 million bonus on Sunday, the first day of the international signing period.

Salas is the consensus best overall prospect in this year’s class. The left-handed hitter is the younger brother of José Salas, one of the top prospects in the Miami Marlins’ system.

The Salas brothers have a long family history in baseball. His father, José Antonio, played in the Atlanta Braves organization; his uncle, José Gregorio, played in the Toronto Blue Jays system; and his grandfather, José Gregorio, played in the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals systems.

According to scouting reports, Ethan Salas has raw power at the plate and strong defensive skills.

Also Sunday, the Washington Nationals signed outfielder Elián Soto, the 17-year-old brother of Padres right fielder Juan Soto. The Nationals traded Juan Soto to the Padres in a big trade on August 2.

Elián Soto, a left-handed hitter who verbally agreed to join the Nationals last year, isn’t considered a top-tier international prospect, but he’s still young enough to become one.

Amateur players and their coaches in the Dominican Republic often make handshake agreements with teams long before they are old enough to officially sign a contract, allowing them to train intermittently at team facilities and preventing them from appear before the evaluators of other organizations.

The Texas Rangers signed outfielder Pablo Guerrero, the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero Sr and younger brother of Vladimir Guerrero Jr from the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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