Sunday, July 2, 2017

July 2 - Who knew this was even a holiday?!?

OK, for Christmas, I asked for a daily holiday calendar.  Well, today was supposed to be "I forgot day" but instead, for the Indians, it was "I got day".

That is, today the Indians 'got' what looks to be very good new talent from Latin America on the first day of the international amateur signing period.    For small market teams like the Indians, given the new bonus rules for signing international amateur players, July 2 can really become Christmas in July and early information makes it look like, for the Indians, it was!

As I predicted and had hoped for earlier this year when I posted on how the Indians should use the monies they wouldn't have to spend on a first round June draft pick (lost for signing Encarnacion) to sign international free agents, the Indians appeared to take that path.  It helps that under the new CBA the Indians have a $5.75 million dollar budget to sign these Latin amateur players.   That's a lot of money to use for these bonuses before they start to incur penalties. 

According to Baseball America the Indians signed the #5 and #17 rated international amateur prospects available in the signing period that started on July 2nd of this year (#21 and #22 by   From Baseball America here is the list of prospects they have signed:

George Valera, of, Dominican Republic (No. 5 prospect), $1.3 million. (#21 by
Aaron Bracho, ss, Venezuela (No. 17 prospect), #1.5 million (#22 by
Jose Tena, ss, Dominican Republic, $400,000. (also listed by
Wilfi Peralta, ss, Dominican Republic, $300,000.
Cesar Idrogo, ss, Venezuela
Marlin Made, of, Dominican Republic
Brayan Rocchio, ss, Venezuela

So, the Indians signed at least TWO guys who will cost over a million dollars each.   That is as unusual for the Indians to do as it is for them to sign highly ranked Latin players.   Yes, they have signed guys in previous signing periods for $800,000 to $1.2 million but, generally, they were one per year and those players weren't that highly ranked and, except for Willi Castro, haven't been very successful.  

When you realize that in 2015 (Jose Fermin, #28 prospect) and 2016 (Oscar Gonzalez, #27 overall prospect) we signed only ONE prospect in the top 30 prospects available and this year we have already signed TWO, both of whom were rated higher than either Fermin or Gonzalez and higher than ANY international prospect the Indians have signed in many, many years, you have to be excited.  As a side note, both Fermin and Gonzalez made the Indians' top 30 prospects this past winter (according to Baseball America) so the guys we signed this year being highly ranked, does bode well for their prospect status going forward..   

At this point it appears that the Indians have signed at least 4 guys to a total of $3.5 million.   This gives them $2.25 million left in their budget.   This can be used for Latin players (including Cubans under 23 years old and the other Latin guys they have signed already) in addition to Asian amateur players and any other foreign amateur players they sign for $10,000 or more (players signed for under $10,000 don't count against the bonus pool).

So, I don't know if the Indians were thinking that they would spend more money this year in the international amateur market since they didn't have a first round pick in the June draft but, if they were, it looks like they are well on their way to helping restock the prospect pipeline by using BOTH the June draft and July International signing period free agents this year, making the loss of the first round pick for Encarnacion less important.   

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