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Tigers mine Latin America for talent

Tigers mine Latin America for talent

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DETROIT -- While the top end of the international talent market is drawing plenty of attention, the Tigers are quietly adding to their talent base in Latin America. They signed what they believe are two promising players at the start of the signing period last week and hope to add more in the coming days.

The deals included a rare signing from Panama, where the Tigers have a full-time scout stationed who was able to watch Daniel Carranza in action along with Tigers director of Latin American operations Miguel Garcia. The 16-year-old shortstop made an impression in tournaments with his athletic ability, showing promise as a multi-tooled player with the potential for power and speed.

One key, international operations director Tom Moore said, will be to get him experience against some of their high-level talent from Venezuela. He'll report to the Tigers academy there this summer before hopefully playing next year in the Venezuelan Summer League.

"He has really good raw tools, a really good body, athletic frame," Moore said. "The key for a kid that young with the tools he has is to get him a lot of at-bats."

The Tigers also signed a strong, smooth-fielding infielder from the Dominican Republic named Alwin Delgado, who will work out this summer at the organization's academy there. The team likes his potential with the bat.

Though both players are shortstops, like most athletic players, they could move to other positions as they move along in the developmental system.

The deals fit into the strategy that the Tigers have used in recent years. While they can go in on big, publicized talent, and have done so in the past, the depth of their systems comes from the ability to find and develop players that might have gone unnoticed elsewhere.

"We try to key in on a small handful of guys that might be beyond the radar, but are projectable," Moore said.

The strategy has paid off. One of their top talents at Class A West Michigan, outfielder Avisail Garcia, was an relatively unheralded signing out of Venezuela two years ago. He's currently among the youngest players in the Midwest League, having just turned 18 last month. He's adjusting to full-season Minor League ball, but the Tigers believe he has a chance to blossom with experience.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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