With the draft in the books, the next July 2 period is just around the corner. Last year saw several teams blow past their spending allocations, incurring two-year bans on $300K+ signings to do so. As the Angels, Diamondbacks, Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees go on probation, the Cubs and Rangers are returning to the market. Ben Badler of Baseball America breaks down this year’s market, with the Cubs joined by the Dodgers and Royals as teams that seem quite likely to dole out enough excess bonus cash to incur the highest possible penalties. The Phillies and Blue Jays could follow those clubs, says Badler, though they may yet be able to add their top targets without taking on a signing ban. Badler discusses several clubs that could be buyers or sellers of international space, with the Twins profiling as a major acquirer or spending capacity and the D’backs looking to get some value back for the bonus availability that they cannot take advantage of.
You’ll want to give that piece a full read. Here are some other worthwhile amateur links:
- Badler discusses the signing situations of BA’s top ten July 2 prospects (non-Cuban edition). He says the Mets are the favorites to land Venezuelan shortstop Andres Gimenez. Though New York probably won’t get Vladimir Guerror Jr., who has long been linked to the Blue Jays, they may instead get Vlad Sr. nephew Gregory Guerrero, another shortstop. Meanwhile, Badler says the Rangers appear set to sign Dominican outfielder Leodys Taveras but now seem likely to lose Bahamian shortstop Lucius Fox to the Dodgers.
- Cuban outfielder Eddie Julio Martinez has drawn a range of reviews, with MLB.com pegging him as the top overall international prospect and Badler expressing considerably more doubt. You can have a look for yourself, at least at some batting practice cuts, with a video courtesy of BA.
- Well-regarded Cuban right-hander Yaisel Sierra will be represented by Praver-Shapiro Sports Management, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. As Badler recently explained, Sierra will be exempt from international signing restrictions when he becomes eligible to sign, but his Serie Nacional track record has never quite matched his promising pure stuff.
- The Diamondbacks’ new regime exhibited a notable change in strategy in this year’s draft, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic notes (Twitter links). After going heavy on high schoolers at the top of last year’s draft, Arizona chose 15 collegiate players in its first 19 picks (including each of its first six selections) this time around. Individual draft dynamics always have an important bearing on a team’s final board, of course, but it is notable that the D’Backs ultimately chose just four high school players out of their forty total draft slots.
- MLB.com’s Jim Callis lists the five teams that had the best drafts. Like other analysts, he places the Astros, Rockies, and Dodgers at the top of that list. Callis also likes what the Rays and Rangers accomplished with their selections.