The Royals have signed Dominican outfielder Tony Ruiz to a $1.2 million bonus as part of their 2023 international free agent class. The Red Sox were reported to be the frontrunners to sign the outfielder, but he was persuaded to sign with the Royals.
The 17-year-old has been compared to Julio Rodriguez and is ranked as the #30 prospect in this year’s class by MLB Pipeline. They write he profiles more as a corner outfielder, but that he can “already hit the ball out of the ballpark to right-center field, and he shows an advanced feel for the strike zone.”
Ruiz joins pitcher Marwys Jorge as part of the Royals’ international free agent class. The right-hander is ranked #49 by MLB Pipeline, who writes he “throws a fastball in the 88-90 mph range with good command. His curveball is emerging, and he also throws a changeup. He shows an easy and fluid delivery. He uses his lower half well and continues to improve his balance and timing.” The 16-year-old trains with former Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez and signed for $450,000 according to MLB.com reporter Jesse Sanchez.
Overall, the Royals signed 30 international free agents, the largest international class in club history. They signed 16 players from the Dominican, 8 from Venezuela, 3 from Mexico, with 1 player each from The Netherlands, Nicaragua, and South Korea. Hyungchan Um, son of former Braves farmhand Jong-Soo Um, becomes the first Korean father-son duo to be signed by big league teams.