With the new international signing period set to begin tomorrow, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com has compiled some of the most pertinent details for fans interested in following the frenzy to come. As always, an international player is eligible to sign with any MLB team if he is 17, or will turn 17 by the end of the first year of his contract. The Reds, Marlins, Brewers, Twins, Athletics and Rays have the most money to spend during the upcoming year; each can spend $6,025,400 in the market. Eight teams (the Athletics, Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Reds and White Sox) incurred the maximum penalty from overages during the previous signing period, and as such, those clubs will not be able to sign any individual player for greater than $300K. Sanchez also notes a few players who seem to already have agreements in place with MLB teams, though obviously those deals cannot become official until after midnight.
A few more notes on the international market headed into tomorrow…
- The Twins look likely to land Venezuelan center fielder Misael Urbina, Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports. Urbina should earn a bonus north of $1.5MM, but he’s not the only player who appears to have a deal in place with the club. Berardino adds that Dominican shortstop Felix Rosa and Venezuelan outfielder Alexander Pena seem likely to sign with Minnesota for about $200K apiece, pending the outcomes of their physicals. Baseball America ranks Urbina tenth on its international prospects list for the 2018-2019 signing period, noting his compact swing, high energy and intensity, and his above-average arm. Rosa and Pena both rank outside BA’s top 50.
- Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports reports that the Phillies have deals in place with at least four international prospects, most notably Dominican hurler Starlyn Castillo. Castillo checks in at number 16 on Baseball America’s international prospects list, giving special credit to his physically mature frame and ability to touch 97 MPH on the radar gun even before his 16th birthday.
- Without giving anything away in terms of specifics, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tweets that the Cardinals are expected to land an international prospect for a $300K bonus as early as tomorrow. Goold adds that the Redbirds have been connected to Cuban third baseman Malcolm Nunez, Venezuelan hurler Jesus Rojas, and Venezuelan catcher Diego Velasquez.