The Phillies joined some rare historical company and may have gotten themselves some real young talent in the process.
Right out of nowhere, as the draft drones on, Philadelphia has signed 17-year-old pitcher Yoan Antonac from France to a contract.
Yoan ANTONAC signe chez les @Phillies en @MLB et devient le septième joueur français de l'ère moderne à signer un contrat avec une franchise MLB ! @lequipe @beinsports_FR @mlbextra -> https://t.co/Fw64OBJMkc pic.twitter.com/tZh5yqO0WH— FF Baseball Softball ⚾ (@FFBS_BASEBALL) June 5, 2018
Antonac finds himself in rare company, as he is just the seventh French player to ever sign with an MLB team. However, the track record for those players who have signed contracts is...not great; none of them have ever made the majors.
Antonac is physically imposing, as he stands a whopping 6-8 inches, and is still extremely young, so the Phillies likely feel they have a great template to work with as they try and turn Antonac into a contributing member of the organization. They've had a French Canadian pitcher in years past in Phillippe Aumont. Why not a native Frenchman?
It might be draft week, but the Phillies have just signed the seventh French baseball player ever to a minor league contract, Yoan Antonac. A tall, lanky RHP with a projectable frame, Antonac has played with the U18 French team & multiple MLB World Select Teams. H/t @jos_diroche https://t.co/7oKHvdgHc6— Extra Innings UK (@ExtraInningsUK) June 5, 2018
Don't think that the Phillies are just doing this as some of PR stunt to grow their French fanbase. Antonac is a legitimate talent who has played with the French national team for the age group above him as well as playing for MLB World Select teams. Currently, Antonac pitches for the Montpellier Barracudas.
As the Phils are a very young team right now, they have time for a guy like Antonac to develop before he would be expected to contribute to a contender. We love it.