Brewers sign Dominican OF

Thursday marked the beginning of baseball’s international signing period, and the Brewers made a splash by coming to terms with outfielder Jose Pena, a highly-regarded 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic.

Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid confirmed the deal before boarding a return flight to the U.S. He would not discuss Pena’s reported $400,000 signing bonus, which would be short of the club-record bonus for an international player that went to right-hander Rolando Pascual in 2005. Pascual received $710,000.

The Brewers also came to terms with 17-year-old Dominican right-hander Jean Capellan, Seid said. It’s believed that Capellan received a five-figure bonus.

The team is also being “aggressive” toward signing several other Latin American prospects, Seid said. When it’s all said and done, Pena will be the highest-profile International pick-up.

“It’s official. He signed,” Seid said. “We’re real happy that we got Jose Pena. We’ve been watching him for some time and had him at a couple of workouts, and [Brewers general manager] Doug Melvin was down here and saw him. We’ve been really able to cover the bases on Jose Pena.”

Some steps remain. Pena must pass a physical, plus Major League Baseball’s official background check that verifies players’ ages. Pena just turned 16 in March, and Seid expected no problems in that process.

Pena, 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, is a right-handed hitter described by Seid as a polished hitter with power and projectability.

“He’s a great ‘make-up’ kid,” Seid said. “He’s someone who looks you in the eye and takes instruction well. Overall, the package is good in terms of ability, power, athleticism and make-up.” 

Capellan is a right-hander who reaches 92 mph with his fastball and features a hard breaking ball. 

“He has an aggressive mound presence,” Seid said. “I liked what I saw from him. He wasn’t considered a top-tier prospect, but to our organization he’s got potential to do something from a pitching standpoint.” 

Both Pena and Capellan will probably begin their professional careers at the Brewers new facility in the Dominican Republic. They co-opted an academy beginning this spring with the Orioles.

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