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02/23/10 8:35 PM ET

Braves sign highly regarded Salcedo

Atlanta makes splash to land top international shortstop

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- During the past offseason, the Braves attempted to improve their organizational depth at the shortstop position. With the acquisition of Dominican shortstop Edward Salcedo, they have done so in an impressive manner.

Atlanta announced Tuesday afternoon that it has signed Salcedo, an 18-year-old shortstop, who was regarded as one of the top available talents on the international market. The young infielder received a $1.6 million signing bonus.

"This is a significant signing for us," Braves director of international scouting operations Johnny Almaraz said. "We feel that Edward is one of this year's most talented prospects. He has outstanding makeup, and the combination of his fielding and hitting ability make him one of the top international players that we've seen in a while."

With his five-tool talents, Salcedo has led some Braves talent evaluators to draw comparisons to Marlins All-Star shortstop Hanley Ramirez.

Based on the way Atlanta handled Yunel Escobar after he was selected in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, there's reason to believe Salcedo will likely spend most of the upcoming season with Class A Rome. The club has routinely kept many of its top young prospects in Rome for a majority of their first full season in professional baseball.

After watching video of Salcedo, Braves general manager Frank Wren described him as being "very impressive." Wren said that he believed the young shortstop would have been a top 10 Draft selection most years.

Thus Atlanta has found away to account for the first-round Draft choice it lost when it signed closer Billy Wagner in December. The Braves' first pick in this year's Draft will be the 35th selection, which they gained when the Orioles signed Mike Gonzalez.

The Braves began their aggressive pursuit of Salcedo after paying Major League Baseball to perform an investigation to verify his age. The determination that he was born in 1991 backed up earlier suspicions regarding his age.

When Salcedo agreed to a $2.3 million signing bonus with the Indians in 2007, his path to professional baseball was blocked by the United States government, which was suspicious of his claim that he was born in 1989 and of legal age, 16 years old, to sign with a Major League organization.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.