Baseball America’s Ben Badler has compiled scouting reports on the Top 50 prospects on the upcoming July 2 international market, in addition to providing projected landing spots for each player on the list. The exhaustive report on the international scene requires a BA subscription, but it’s highly recommended for those who wish to dive headfirst into learning about the upcoming glut of talent that will be injected into most clubs’ minor league pipelines. Those looking to learn more about the process can also check out this primer from Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs, who also provides a ranking of the class (with further explanation here).
Here are just a few highlights from Badler’s excellent work on the topic, which deserves a full read:
- Badler takes a particularly close look at top prospect Kevin Maitan, who he says may be a better prospect than Miguel Sano was as a teenager. The link comes with a lengthy and detailed scouting report, including discussion of the question whether Maitain will be able to stay at shortstop for the long run. Scouts are divided on the likelihood, but all seem to agree it’s at least a plausible outcome.
- Maitan has long been said to be heading for the Braves, and we’ve yet to hear anything to change that expectation. Atlanta has lined up a big batch of spending, but Badler provides a bit of context for just how large: he says it “should look comparable to what the Yankees did in 2014-15.” (You can refresh yourself on New York’s shock and awe campaign here.)
- The Padres appear headed in that direction, too, as Badler says that a $30MM to $35MM spend might be their floor. In addition to big activity on the Cuban market, San Diego is in line to add eight of the top fifty available players. As for the Nationals, who are also believed to be pacing the market in spending, it might not be quite that dramatic. But Washington could still come away with three of the fifteen best prospecs on the market.
- The Astros, too, seem ready to drop some big cash — including a $3.5MM bonus for Cuban shortstop Anibal Sierra. Houston is eyeing five of the top fifty names on Badler’s list, he notes. One player that could be ticketed for the ’Stros is fifth overall prospect Freudis Nova.
- Nova had been connected to the Marlins before failing a PED test. Now, Badler explains, Miami has a big chunk of pool availability and little in the way of commitments. The club could deal that away or see if it can find a nice price on the Cuban market.
- It also remains to be seen what the Reds will do, but Badler explains that things could go in either of two directions. Cinci could trade for some added bonus pool space to add Cuban shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez and a few smaller signings without hitting the penalty. Or, the team could enter the broader Cuban market and blow past its limits.
- The White Sox are expected to land slugging prospect Josue Guerrero — who, yes, is a part of the famous family. Despite being quiet in recent years, the Athletics are in position to add some talent, including George Bell, whose father (same name) was a quality big leaguer.
- The Brewers aren’t believed to have any seven-figure bonuses lined up, but could still add a high number of interesting players with the fifth-highest spending availability in the game. Likewise, the Phillies are expected to spread their cash.
- Of course, not every team will have the opportunity to spend lavishly this period; the Dodgers, Yankees, Cubs, D-backs, Angels, Rays, Red Sox, Giants, Royals and Blue Jays are each prohibited from spending more than $300K on international amateurs after incurring maximum penalties, though that doesn’t mean those organizations don’t have a chance to find some talent.