The Padres opened their new academy in the Dominican Republic in 2008, and they continue to fill it with prospects. On Wednesday, the club announced four international signings, including catcher Ricardo Rodriguez from Venezuela.
Rodriguez, who ranks No. 30 on MLB.com's Top 30 International Prospects list, impressed scouts with his prowess behind the plate and power potential in the batter's box.
He might not be the fastest runner on the bases, but Rodriguez makes up for the shortcoming with a solid arm and reliable defense. He's also known for his poise, intelligence and baseball IQ.
Rodriguez projects to be an average hitter, but he does everything well -- a big reason scouts believe he should be considered among the top catchers on the prospect market.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound teen also has international tournament experience on his resume as a member of Venezuela's Under-15 National Team. He trains on Margarita Island, Venezuela, with Caro Barrios and Lenin Rodriguez.
The Padres also announced the signings of 16-year-old shortstop Elvis Sabala, 17-year-old left-hander Eduardo Solano and 16-year-old right-hander Pedro Beltran -- all from the Dominican Republic.
In accordance to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team is allotted a $700,000 base and a bonus pool based on the team's record in 2013 for the international signing period, which started Wednesday. San Diego's bonus pool total for this year's signing period is $2,531,200.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.