KANSAS CITY -- The Royals signed Nicaraguan prospect Cheslor Cuthbert to a reported $1.35-million bonus as the international signing period began.

Cuthbert, 16, is a right-handed-hitting third baseman with power potential, according to Rene Francisco, the Royals' special assistant to the general manager/international operations. Cuthbert was ranked seventh among the top 25 Latin America prospects by Baseball America.

"He's going be able to hit and with power and he's very, very solid defensively at third," Francisco said. "He's very athletic with good range and size. We're very happy with him."

Cuthbert reportedly was close to signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates after being scouted by most of the Major League clubs. But the Royals outbid the Bucs.

He will report to the Arizona instructional league in October and play his first season in 2010, Francisco said. At present, Cuthbert stands 6-foot-1 and about 185 pounds with a chiseled body.

"This kid has tremendous ability, makeup, and comes from a great family background," Francisco said. "I couldn't ask for anything better."

The signing was handled Thursday by Orlando Estevez, the Royals' Latin America supervisor, and Nicaragua scout Juan Lopez.