MLB has changed its rules governing the signings of international players, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reports. MLB has determined that teams may not host players at their facilities until they are 16 years old or are within six months of being eligible to sign, whichever comes first. Therefore, most players who will become eligible to sign on July 2 of next year will not be allowed at MLB team facilities until January 2 to showcase players who will be eligible to sign in July.
The news is significant, Badler notes, because teams currently invite players to their facilities to evaluate them there, using their own drills. Also, leagues like the Dominican Prospect League and International Prospect League currently use MLB team facilities, with games open to all teams to watch. Now those leagues won’t be able to use MLB facilities until January 2.
The rule changes will also limit the number of nights young prospects are allowed to stay at MLB team facilities, and will prevent prospects from living with MLB team employees.