International Free Agents Newsbeat
Friday, July 01, 2016
1. Kevin Maitan, SS/3B, Venezuela (Video 1, 2, 3, 4)
Where to begin? How about at age 12? That’s when scouts started to identify Maitan as this class’s top overall player. By age 14, Maitan already had everything scouts are looking for in a baseball prospect. A picturesque build, good defensive actions at shortstop with plenty of arm for the position and not just usable but potentially impactful swings from both sides of the plate — as well as power projection to accompany it. The Braves have been all over Maitan for a few years and are expected to sign him for about $4 million.
I have a 55 FV on Maitan, the same future-value grade as Kiley McDaniel placed on Yadier Alvarez last year. But Alvarez was three years older than Maitan is now and risk/proximity to the majors factors in to future value. There’s a chance that Maitan develops a plus hit tool and plus raw power from both sides of the plate. His left-handed swing is of the traditional, low-ball variety and has a beautiful high finish. The bat is quick into the zone and long through it, producing gap-to-gap contact right now that should move toward and over outfield fences as Maitan matures.
From the right side, Maitan’s wrists are a little looser, his hands more surgical and his bat control more advanced. He looks more comfortable from this side right now but will get more reps in pro ball from the left side because most opposing pitchers will throw right-handed.
Defensively, I’ve had scouts put anything between a 55 to a 70 on Maitan’s arm. Grades on players like Maitan, who are locked into deals early, are often more volatile than they are on other players because, once they’ve agreed to deals, they show up at workouts and showcases less frequently. This is likely why grades on Maitan’s arm are so disparate and I’ve split the difference and assigned his arm a 60. His actions at short are solid and confident but there’s a chance he outgrows the position, slows down and has to move to third base. There are some evaluators, especially the ones highest on his arm strength, who think Maitan might remain at shortstop even if he does slow down because some of his other skills will hide a lack of range.
This is the best 16-year-old international free agent since Miguel Sano and he has a chance to be very special, especially if he can remain at shortstop.
Edit: Keith Law’s take on ESPN Insider ($$)
On MLB Radio they were saying the ban is for the next two years. Has anyone seen anything definitive?
The Boston Red Sox were banned from signing any international players for the next year and had five of their teenage prospects declared free agents on Friday after a Major League Baseball investigation showed they circumvented signing-bonus rules last year, a source familiar with the situation told Yahoo Sports.
Major League Baseball could penalize the Red Sox over their 2015 international signings before this year’s signing period opens on Saturday, international baseball sources have told Baseball America.
The penalties being considered, according to those sources, include signing restrictions for the upcoming 2016-17 international signing period, and possibly making several of Boston’s top 2015 international signings free agents, who would then be available to sign with any team.
The timing of the disciplinary action is significant. Several Venezuelan players were expected to sign contracts with the Red Sox on July 2, but if these penalties are imposed, those players would no longer be able to sign with Boston. That includes 16-year-old outfielder Roimer Bolivar, the No. 31 international prospect on Baseball America’s Top 50 international prospects list.
Thursday, May 05, 2016
Kevin Maitan did not just suddenly appear on the radar for international scouts. He’s been on it for three years—and he only turned 16 in February.
So it’s really no surprise that the superlatives fly in when Maitan’s name is mentioned in international scouting circles. Scouts and front-office executives describe him as athletic, big, strong and talented. They compare him to a young Miguel Cabrera and Chipper Jones, and other established Major League stars.
The switch-hitting teenage shortstop from Venezuela has long been considered the top prospect for the international class of 2016, but now it’s official. Maitan is ranked No. 1 on MLB.com’s list of Top 30 International Prospects for 2016.
This year’s Top 30 International Prospects list includes 14 players from the Dominican Republic, 10 from Venezuela, five from Cuba and one from Mexico. The positions break down like this: eight outfielders, 17 infielders, three pitchers and two catchers.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The most obvious route, especially in the first year of the international bonus pools, was a package deal. Take a player for July 2 you want to sign for $2 million, but give $1.5 million to him on July 2 and give $500,000 to another player from the same trainer before July 2. Prior to July 2, 2012, there were no bonus pools, so you save half a million dollars from your 2012-13 bonus pool.
While the decision should ultimately be up to the player and his family, the reality is that the trainers often hold the ultimate decision-making power in these deals. Maximizing the money that goes to the chief decision-maker is what gets a deal done.
Before July 2 that year, we asked Major League Baseball what the league would do if a team tried that type of package deal. The response was that the commissioner’s office would view it as a circumvention of the bonus pools and would respond with strict penalties.
Except, they didn’t. Teams did exactly what we wrote that they would do, and MLB did nothing. I’m not saying MLB necessarily should have done anything either, but it at least set a precedent that the commissioner’s office was fine with teams signing players that way.
for his generous support.
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