July 2nd is far in the rear-view mirror, but the Tampa Bay Rays are still making international signings. They made waves by inking shortstop Adrian Rondon and they also signed two more high-upside prospects outfielder Jesus Sanchez and lefty Francisco Sanchez. Now they have added three more names to the fold, According to Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Rays have signed right-handers Marlon Constante, Ender Gonzalez, and Thomas Lebron.
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Information is scarce about the international free agents who are less than top prospects, but we are actually lucky in regards to Constante. He played in a pair of Perfect Game events in Florida, giving us the chance to learn something about him. According to Perfect Game, Constante is 5’11”, 180 and was set to graduate from high school in the Dominican Republic in 2015 so he’s probably around 18 right now. More importantly, there are also some reports available about his stuff.
This tweet describes Constante as sitting at 89 MPH with his fastball to go along with sink and deception. PG actually clocked him as high as 90 MPH to go along with a curveball, a slider, and a changeup. No word on how good those pitches are, but clearly the Rays were impressed with Constante if they signed him now. It is always interesting for a teenage pitcher to already be throwing a changeup, and we know that the Rays will help Constante refine that pitch a great deal once he joins their system.
Constante actually played in those Perfect Game events in October as he tried to let big league teams know he is existed. He is an older prospect, but the good news is that his late development forced him to become more of a pitcher and less of a thrower. You always want to sign that pitcher who throws 95 MPH, but if you’re going to sign someone else, it is certainly a bonus when he has some movement on deception on his fastball and a four-pitch arsenal that he uses to attack hitters.
The Rays are signing Marlon Constante hoping that they are getting a late bloomer with a chance to make up for his lost time and put himself on the map. Maybe this is the last time we will ever discuss him, but there is always the chance that the Rays have found a diamond in the rough.