2019 International Signing Period Preview
Image courtesy of © Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY SportsFans can look up and down the current Twins roster to find impact players signed as part of the international signing period. Max Kepler and Miguel Sano were both signed out of the 2009 signing class. One year after Kepler and Sano signed, Jorge Polanco was inked to a deal out of the Dominican Republic. Even rookie Luis Arraez has his origin traced to the 2013 international signing period.
Minnesota’s Bonus Pool
The Twins are in the second tier of teams that have $5,939,800 to spend during the 2019-20 spending period. Compared to Minnesota, only eight teams have more money to spend and five other teams have an equal pool from which to spend. These new hard cap rules have helped to level the playing field when it comes to signing international players.
Since Minnesota had a “Competitive Balance Pick” in Round A of the draft, they were given an extra $541,500 for the current signing period. Teams in the competitive balance portion of the draft are deemed by MLB to be smaller markets or smaller revenue clubs. This helps those clubs to level the playing field.
Also, teams can trade for up to an additional 60% of their original bonus pool allotment. However, these trades can’t happen until after the signing period opens on July 2. Signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club’s bonus pool.
Players to Watch
Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com expects the Twins to be aggressive in the upcoming signing period. Last year, Minnesota was able to sign Misael Urbina, MLB.com’s number six prospect in the 2018 signing class. He is an outfielder that hails from Venezuela. In Twins Daily’s Midseason Top-40 Prospects, he came in as the 19th best player. Urbina is making his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League. So far this season, he is hitting .271/.380/.441 (.821) with seven extra-base hits in 16 games.
The Twins are tied to another MLB top-10 prospect for the current signing period. Emmanuel Rodriguez, a Dominican outfielder, is ranked as the eighth best player in the current class. FanGraphs places him as the 19th best prospect and provides a video look at the young outfielder.
At 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, there is still room for him to grow. Multiple prospect sites praise him for his hit tool. MLB.com said, “Rodriguez is athletic with a strong body and a medium frame. He has shown a solid hitting approach and advanced knowledge of the strike zone for a player his age. He has an efficient swing that creates lots of backspin and generates power to all fields. He also has a real feel and natural instincts for the game and specifically, hitting.” FanGraphs referred to him as a “smaller tweener” type and they said he has a “good feel to hit and instincts.” MLB.com even compared his skill set to a young Eddie Rosario.
Malfrin Sosa, another outfielder from the Dominican, is also tied to the Twins. Sosa, a right-handed hitter, comes in at 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. His big size means he projects as a corner outfielder, but he has the raw power to fit that mold. His hit tool is one thing to work on, but he is a little younger than some of the other potential signees. FanGraphs ranks him as the 28th best international prospect in this class.
In all reality, neither of these players will be at Target Field in the next five years. That being said, it’s tough to ignore the importance of international signees on the current Twins roster. Players signed through this method can impact line-ups throughout the game.
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