With the Arizona Fall League wrapping up, the MLB.com Pipeline team broke down the top players at each position. Perhaps no single prospect impressed to the extent of Gleyber Torres, the Yankees shortstop who was acquired in the Aroldis Chapman trade. Live-armed Red Sox righty Michael Kopech and Indians outfielder Bradley Zimmer were among the other high-profile young players who impressed, but a variety of lesser-known names also drew attention.
Here are some more prospect and international notes from around the game:
- Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper broke down the top Rule 5 draft candidates. Teams always have to balance roster needs with their assessments of young players who are eligible for the draft, and every year at least a dozen or so players who aren’t added to a 40-man roster will be plucked by another organization. This time around, as usual, many of the most plausible Rule 5 options are pitchers. But two position players warranted mention from Cooper as well: Pirates third baseman Eric Wood and Mets utility infielder Phillip Evans. Both have posted much better numbers of late, but apparently did not do quite enough to convince their organizations of their value — or, perhaps, of their ability to stick on another team’s active roster for a full season.
- The first player that Cooper notes, Padres righty Yimmi Brasoban, seems an intriguing candidate for the Rule 5 since he possesses a big fastball and quality slider that could make him a useful bullpen piece. But San Diego’s decision to leave him unprotected may well be due to elbow issues, as Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on Twitter. The young reliever is undergoing stem cell and platelet-rich plasma treatments, suggesting he may be trying to stave off a surgical option. We have seen injured players go in the Rule 5 before; if they aren’t able to meet the active-duty requirements in the season following the draft, they can reach it in future campaigns.
- Ben Badler of Baseball America argues that Major League Baseball would be better served to increase its current bonus pool limitations for international players than to institute an international draft. Low-revenue clubs are able to compete for top talent in the current system, he explains, so there’s no compelling reason in that regard to move to a draft. The problem, per Badler, is that the current signing levels are just too low, which has led many teams in baseball to exceed the limitations and accept future bonus limitations. His solution is to significantly boost the overall pool bonus amounts, make them equal for all teams, and increase the penalties for exceeding the pool. That — or some other hypothetical system — would still allow for cost containment while also serving other interests, Badler argues, including competitive balance and equal opportunities for all teams and players.
- There are new details in the human trafficking case against agent Bart Hernandez, as Jose Pagliery of CNN.com reports. Hernandez was allegedly involved in a scheme with a violent smuggler, the government alleges, with tens of millions of dollars flowing to the masterminds after Cuban ballplayers such as Jose Abreu and Yoenis Cespedes landed large bonuses with major league organizations. While the players were treated more humanely than the average citizens who were also being moved in the alleged conspiracy, they were nevertheless treated like prisoners and coerced into signing with Hernandez, per the charges.