SAN FRANCISCO -- Maintaining their commitment to pursue talent internationally, the Giants announced the signing Wednesday of 16-year-old Dominican right-hander Luis Angel Mateo.Giants scouting director John Barr said that he and other members of the club's baseball operations staff scouted Mateo over the last several months, partly in games arranged by the organization's Dominican summer team for prospects. Barr estimated that if Mateo had been eligible for selection in last month's First-Year Player Draft, he would have been chosen somewhere between the "sandwich" round and the third round. Barr said that Mateo throws a hard curveball that travels "almost at slider speed" -- 78 to 80 mph. Mateo's fastball velocity, Barr added, currently ranges between 88-91 mph. Barr didn't deny that signing Mateo was something of a gamble, given his lack of experience. "It's what we do all the time," Barr said. "It's the purest in scouting, when you're in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela, because there's no track record. You're not reading his press clippings. You're watching and evaluating the player." Mateo was believed to have received a signing bonus, although indications were that it fell short of the $2.1 million that the Giants gave Dominican infielder Angel Villalona in 2006. Barr acknowledged that the Giants had interest in Michael Inoa, another 16-year-old Dominican right-hander, whom Oakland signed to a reported $4.3 million bonus. Barr said that Mateo likely will undergo a physical examination in the U.S. from Giants doctors and will participate in the club's Instructional League program this fall.
Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.