Kiley McDaniel of sbb.scout.com has a primer on the international signing period, which begins July 2nd every year. That's when 16-year-olds from countries such as the Dominican Republic and Venezuela can be signed by Major League teams. The latest from McDaniel:
- There is no super elite prospect this year, writes McDaniel. He notes that under the new collective bargaining agreement, most teams will have budgets in the $1.5-4MM range, as determined by the 2012 MLB standings. The Astros could have north of $7MM to spend, however. McDaniel notes that teams can trade for up to 50% of their assigned cap.
- In another article, McDaniel looks at particular players in this July 2nd class. Dominican shortstop Obispo Aybar could get a $1MM bonus, even though MLB is investigating his age and clubs believe he is 18 or 19.
- Dominican third baseman Rafael Devers has been connected to the Red Sox, with a possible bonus over $1MM.
- Right fielder Micker Zapata, born on the island of St. Thomas but trained in the Dominican in recent years, has drawn interest from the Phillies, Mariners, Twins, and Indians. McDaniel notes that Zapata "speaks perfect English from his upbringing in St. Thomas."
- Dominican right fielder Eloy Jimenez has shown similar tools to Zapata with plus speed, a right field arm, and big raw power to his pull side. Jimenez has been rumored to be in line for a bonus that would likely top the class, ranging from $2.5MM-$3MM and is most often linked to the Astros.
- Gleyber Torres is a Venezuelan shortstop who doesn’t offer a ton of projection but has the smoothness and skills to put him into the top group of talents in this class. The Cubs are said to like him and they could spend over $2MM on him.
- Fellow Venezuelan shortstop Yeltsin Gudino is rumored to be in line for over $1MM with the A's and Mariners mentioned most often.
- Dominican shortstop Franly Mallen is further along than Gudino and has caught the attention of a number of teams. Rumor has it that a couple of clubs have already offered him a bonus in the high six figures.
- Dominican righties Mayky Perez and Marcos Diplan are the top two pitchers this year. Perez is 6’5, 205 pounds and shows three average or better pitches with a physical, projectable frame. Diplan, meanwhile, is skinny at 6’0, 160 pounds and boasts a 90-94 mph fastball with an above average breaking ball.
Zach Links contributed to this post.