S16 saw a new crop of international talent come into NCAA and the international players saw a lot of dollar signs being thrown around. 68 players inked contracts from foreign countries to have a chance to play American baseball this season, down from S15 where we saw 84 International players signed. For those players who waited a season to make the transition they had to be pleased with the wait as the highest international signed in S15 was for $16.2M. This season we had 4 players sign for $20M or more. With that many teams having that much cash to throw around ($235.78M spent S16; $189.076M spent S15), here’s the recap on the international market.
The highest paid Int’l this season was Angel Sanchez with the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Sanchez is a 22 year old 1B who will be in the lineup every day for the Gophers. The lefty spent 20 games in AAA ball while management watched and then decided that much money was wasted in the minors. Manager bighead34 put in the call that sent Sanchez up to the big league where he appeared in 121 games, hitting .268 with 22 HR and 68 RBI.
Owner bighead34 on the signing: “Not our favorite signing of all time, but he's a safe signing as even if he never progresses at all he should be a decent MLer...if we get lucky he might develop into a LF who won't kill you with the glove and has the potential to hit . 300/.380/.500 although the more likely scenario is he'll be an above average defensive 1B who can hit just enough (.275/.350/.450) to justify playing everyday.”
The Portland Ducks found themselves in the $20M group when they landed 18 yr. old SS Pedro Gonzales. Unlike Sanchez, Gonzales will work his way up the minor league system before he lands in the majors. He defense might be better suited to play 3B but at either position he’ll be hitting the long ball. He’s got great power and contact which should help the lower vR and eye.
Portland's owner: ""Gonzales is the power hitter that Portland was waiting for. We have made some big trades to free up some salary cap to be able to sign our rookie after putting all our prospect budget into Gonzales. His first season was very good, hitting for .299 with 32 HR, 138 RBI and 18 SB in the LoA. Depending on his development, he may play in the HiA next season. We are hoping to see him in the ml in 2-3 seasons."
The Little Rock Razorbacks are the only team in the club to ink a pitcher to a $20M contract, signing 18 yr. old Carlos Jose for $20.2M. He struggled in Low A ball this season, appearing in 21 games and starting 15 of those. This might be the only chance teams have to beat up on him though as he projects to be a very nice starting pitcher someday. Great control, good splits and out of his first three pitches, the lowest is 78.
The last member to make the $20M club is the Dover Fightin Blue Hens who just managed to make it with their new $20.0M player, Melky Baez. Will be interesting to see what manager byers61 does with Baez as his defense could allow him to play SS possibly or he’d be a gold glover at 3B. I think Baez has the best all around bat out of the three position players who were paid $20M as his contact, splits, and power are all great. His bat could help out at the ML level already but his defense is still developing so time will tell on how fast he’ll make it to the majors.
Owner byers61 on the deal: “The Fighting Blue Hens spent $20 mil in prospect money on Melky Baez, who their advance scouts say projects to a 90 OVR rating. Baez has the defensive tools to play shortstop, though his arm strength is a tick off from ideal. He is advanced enough to have performed well at HiA in his initial season, even though he is only 19.”
Here are 5 signings that I liked in no particular order:
Fargo Bison landed a great closer in Bartolo Vargas for $15.0M. Bison management wasted no time on their investment, sticking Vargas straight into the major league bullpen where he threw 73.0 innings, going 3-2 with a 4.44 era. If his pitches develop to their projections, that will be the worst season in a long career for Mr. Vargas.
Owner mikejuggalo on the signing: “Vargas looks to be a solid addition to the bison and we are hoping he will become a decent setup man in the future. He had an ok season this year but we are going to be expecting better from him in the future, he can start by having a good postseason this year.”
The Nashville Commodores also inked a nice closer for $7.0M with Ivan Caballero. While the 18 yr. old might not be able to pitch as long or often as Vargas, he looks to have just as good of stuff. Control, splits and pitches are all there and looks like the Commodores found a great future setup man in the international market this season.
Owner cctigerfan: “Ivan Caballero will hopefully develop into an excellent closer for the Commodores. He throws 3 pitches and has good movement on his pitches.”
The Seattle Huskies make my list with their signing of 21 yr. old SS Donaldo Renteria. Renteria signed for $13.5M and looks like he’ll have the defense to play the SS position. While his bat is average, for a short stop it’s a very good bat. He’ll be on the field the majority of games, high health, great speed and great makeup I like the signing and don’t think he’ll be in the minors for very long.
Owner jcairns: “Rivera is exactly the type of shortstop that the Seattle organization looks for. He’ll be phenomenal with the glove and won't be a liability with the bat. He should be able to play most of the games a season and we look forward to having him man his position for many years to come.”
The Anaheim Trojans also signed a deal with a SS prospect, inking 22 yr. old Raul Cedeno for only $4.1M. Cedeno also won’t be in the minors long as he’s got the defense to play SS and look to be a gold glover by the time he’s done developing. Great power in his bat regardless of what position he’d play, and good splits with him being a short stop. Great signing given the type of player he is and the amount the Trojans got him for.
Owner ajwalton on Cedeno: Anaheim was very pleased to land a near ML-ready SS for around 4 million. Cedeno will certainly not be a superstar, but he will provide serviceable defense with a little pop in his bat. He should make his ML debut some time next season.
My value pick goes out to the Salem Beavers who landed 20 yr. old 1B David Jacquez for only $1.5M. He’s the lowest overall rating out of the write-ups and his health I’m sure scared teams away. If this guy stays healthy I think the Beavers got a steal as he’ll put up some very good numbers with his power. And if he doesn’t stay healthy, the Beavers won’t be out much. Very high reward with low risk on this signing.