A new set of rules and restrictions for the international prospect market will take effect less than two weeks from now, on July 2. Each team will be working with an annual budget of $2.9MM for international players starting next month. Here are the latest rumblings regarding the international prospect market, via Ben Badler of Baseball America:
- The Blue Jays had seemed to be in the lead for Venezuelan right-hander Jose Mujica, but may not be as closely linked to him as expected, Badler writes. The Red Sox and Diamondbacks have also been linked to the 15-year-old Mujica, who's considered by many scouts to be the top pitching prospect available in Latin America.
- The Blue Jays are still favored to sign 16-year-old Venezuelan Franklin Barreto, according to Badler. Some teams consider Barreto the top available prospect, but he will likely move from shortstop to another position.
- The Red Sox, Padres and Royals have been mentioned as possible teams of interest on Venezuelan left-hander Jose Castillo, Badler writes. Some view the Dodgers and Orioles as sleepers for Castillo, who’s expected to obtain a generous bonus.
- The Twins are showing heavy interest in Dominican shortstop Amaurys Minier, according to Badler. The 16-year-old switch-hitter is expected to become one of the highest-paid Dominican prospects.
- Some believe the Pirates are in on Dominican third baseman Julio de la Cruz.