International Free Agents Newsbeat
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Thursday, November 10, 2016
This is some crazy stuff. How can we not be excited to see this guy play in MLB?
“I actually think the guy might get a $300 million deal,” said a scout who has had multiple looks at the righty pitcher/lefty hitter. “That is how special a talent he is. He has power No. 1 starter stuff. He is throwing 99 [mph] in the eighth inning. His secondary stuff is unhittable. He is big and loose. His fastball is electric and his curve, cutter and split are all 70s [on the 20-80 scouting scale].
“And I think he is getting better as a hitter. I think an American hitting coach teaches him to turn on the ball more and he can be a 45-homer guy. He has Darryl Strawberry power. He is the face of a franchise. He is a big, handsome guy and when he plays baseball you cannot take your eyes off of him.”
Saturday, November 05, 2016
Ben Badler makes the case against raising the international minimum signing age to 18.
There will still be some Latin American players who can get to the majors at 21 and hit free agency still at their traditional peak years, but raising the signing age from 16 to 18 reduces the number of them who will. That hurts players in the union—and not just Latin American players. While international amateur players aren’t in the union, the players’ association would be smart to push back against raising the signing age to 18 because of the long-term impact it will have on union members.
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.
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