The White Sox signed 16-year-old Dominican Republic outfielder Micker Adolfo Zapata, the No. 2-ranked player on MLB.com's list of Top International Prospects, on Tuesday, the first day of the international signing period.
Zapata signed for $1.6 million, the largest amount ever spent by the White Sox for an international signing.
The 6-foot-3, 199-pound Zapata has plus-plus power, a strong arm and impressive bat speed. He is a right-handed hitter who profiles to be a center fielder with the ability to play the corners.
"Micker is a terrific young man who is tremendously talented," said White Sox senior vice president and general manager Rick Hahn, who attended the signing in the Dominican Republic. "As we've gotten to know Micker and his family, we've been even more and more impressed. We cannot say enough about his baseball potential and his future with the White Sox."
Zapata was recommended and signed by Marco Paddy, White Sox special assistant to the general manager for international operations.
"Adolfo Zapata has impressed everyone over the last year with his makeup and approach to the game," said Paddy. "His raw tools and natural strength immediately grab your attention, and his power displays can be jaw-dropping."
Zapata has an uppercut swing and a reputation for putting on power displays in batting practice. Although he can be susceptible to off-speed pitches, his tools and upside have led some to call him a "player development's dream."
"Marco deserves a great deal of credit for scouting and signing Micker," Hahn said. "Marco spent the time building a really strong relationship with Micker and a great rapport with his family. Today's signing reinforces our expanding commitment as an organization to scouting and signing top young, talented players from Latin America."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he's not very familiar with Zapata, but could tell by the White Sox brass' enthusiasm about the young player that he seems to be a special talent.
"I don't [know anything about him]," Ventura said before Tuesday night's game against the Orioles. "They're excited about him. That's one thing I do know. They targeted him."