The 2015-16 international signing period kicks off in six days (July 2), which will lead to significant spending from clubs all around the league in an effort to bolster their farm system. The Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Angels and Diamondbacks will each be ineligible to sign a player for more than $300K due to vastly overshooting their league-assigned international bonus pools in the 2014-15 signing period. Meanwhile, the Cubs and Rangers will be back in the game after being similarly restricted in the 2014-15 period due to excessive spending in 2013-14. Both teams are expected to again be aggressive, though it’s the Dodgers who are rumored to be the most aggressive team on this year’s international market. Here are some notes on this year’s class of July 2 players…
- Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs has released an excellent sortable prospect board with scouting reports, video, projected bonus information and the likeliest landing spot, with information on 69 different international prospects (not all info available for all prospects). McDaniel currently projects the Dodgers to spend $27.05MM on the international market, though that number could grow, as it’s not clear where every prospect is going to land yet. That $27.05MM figure, by the way, comes out to more than $50MM after factoring in the 100% luxury tax they’ll pay for exceeding their $2,020,300 pool by more than 15 percent (pool info via Baseball America).
- In addition to the Dodgers and Cubs, the Royals are expected to blow past their international spending limit as well, writes McDaniel in a separate piece. No one figures to match the Dodgers, though, who are “so recklessly signing whichever player they want for whatever number it takes that teams are openly wondering what top Cuban player they won’t sign during this period,” McDaniel notes. It’s currently tough to peg the market for top Cuban outfield prospect Eddy Julio Martinez, but the Dodgers should be considered the favorite for all Cuban players due to their hyper-aggressive approach, McDaniel adds. He also looks ahead to the 2016-17 market, touching on top names such as Kevin Maitan and Abraham Gutierrez.
- Baseball America’s Ben Badler spoke to six scouts about top international prospects Yadier Alvarez (link) and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. (link). Alvarez’s name has been on the pages of MLBTR for months, as the Cuban righty is said to be the top international pitching prospect on the market thanks to a fastball that reaches 98 mph and the makings of a wipeout slider and an above-average changeup. Badler looks at his sudden emergence from obscurity and gets the takes of scouts who praise him, but also those who view him as a future reliever. As for Guerrero, scouts feel that he has the best combination of hitting ability and power in this year’s class, but he’s already a thick player with a so-so arm, leading to questions about his defensive placement down the line. Alvarez is believed to have a bonus of $16MM+ waiting from the Dodgers, whereas the Blue Jays have long been believed to have a deal with Guerrero (McDaniel pegs the value at $3.45MM).