Months after signing for $5.6 million as an international free agent, 16-year-old Padres catching prospect Ethan Salas made his professional debut Tuesday night, hitting second for Single A Lake Elsinore.
Salas immediately made a strong first impression, going 2-for-3 with a walk, double and run scored to lead off the 3-1 victory.
Salas, who turns 17 on Thursday, is the first player born in 2006 to play in the minor leagues. His signing set a record for the largest bonus awarded to an international amateur during the hard cap bonus era.
“He’s kind of a total-package catcher,” director of scouting Chris Kemp said after Salas signed, according to Sam Dykstra of MLB.com. “It’s rare. This is my ninth year doing international scouting and, for us, this is the most interesting person we have scouted.
Salas has a brother who is a prospect in the Marlins system, and has drawn praise from the scouting community for his athleticism and defensive abilities. Given his youth, the teenager may still be a long way from the big leagues, but his career is undoubtedly off to a great start.