Months after signing for $5.6 million as an international free agent, 16-year-old Padres catching prospect Ethan Salas made his professional debut on Tuesday night, batting 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 spearhead a 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 ever given out to an international amateur in the hard cap bonus era.
“He’s kind of the total-package catcher,” scouting director Chris Kemp said after Salas signed, per MLB.com’s Sam Dykstra. “It’s just rare. This is my ninth year doing international scouting and, for us, this is the most interesting guy we’ve scouted.”
Salas has a brother who’s a prospect in the Marlins’ system, and draws praise from the scouting community for his athleticism and defensive abilities. Given his youth, the teenager is likely still a ways away from the big leagues, but his career no doubt is off to a stellar start.