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Sunday, Jan. 16 marks the opening of the international signing period, an area where the Phillies have a history of failure. Since the reign of former general manager Pat Gillick, the Phillies have produced no notable stars, while rival NL East teams have seen players like Ronald Acuña Jr., Juan Soto, and Ozzie Albies rise to the pinnacle of the game in the past five years alone.

The Phillies hope to remedy that ineptitude with a big splash this Sunday. According to Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia, the Phillies are expected to land William Bergolla Jr., a shortstop out of Venezuela for a bonus "in the neighborhood of $2 million."

Bergolla Jr., 17, is rated by as the fourth-best international prospect, while he is ranked eighth by Baseball America.

Scouts have noted Bergolla Jr. has “been praised for his baseball IQ and awareness.” Of course, his offensive and defensive skills aren’t lacking either. According to MLB Pipeline scouts, Bergolla Jr. has an advanced approach and understanding of the strike zone. His pop is expected to develop as he ages, but at present Bergolla Jr. has "line-drive power." Defensively, he has been lauded for his "footwork," "soft hands," and "solid range."


Bergolla Jr. will join a list of high-priced Phillies international prospects that include players like 2015's Jhailyn Ortiz ($4 million), 2016's Abrahan Gutierrez ($3.5 million), 2017's Luis Garcia ($2.5 million), 2018's Starlyn Castillo ($1.8 million), and 2020's Yemal Flores ($1.4 million).

Other than Bergolla Jr., the Phillies are expected to sign upwards of 20 amateur free agents Sunday, most of which hail from Latin America.

While baseball slumbers in the midst of the lockout, the Phillies remain active and on the hunt for young talent with which to replenish their lacking farm system.

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