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  1. Twins 2019-20 International Free Agency Review

    One of the biggest mysteries and also one of the best ways to add quality to a system is through International Free Agency. It’s one of the best because you look at some of the premier players in the game and they come from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela, countries where players are not subjected to the draft. But it’s a mystery in the sense that teams have only so much money to spend, yet only a few signings make headlines and you never seem to know if teams have more to spend or even who the players are.

    Putting this report together at any time of the year is going to be misleading. When the Twins release their media guide, it includes all the players they have signed - including players from the current signing period. But the signing period runs until the middle of next June, so they’ll continue to add players to the class. As of now, there are 15 players in this group.

    2019-20 Signings (July 2, 2019 - June 15, 2020)

    Luis Blanco, RHP, Venezuela. (9/1/2000)
    Miguelangel Boadas, RHP, Venezuela. (12/7/2002)
    Gregory Duran, OF, Dominican Republic. (10/8/2002)
    Argenis Jimenez, OF, Venezuela. (4/21/2003)
    Yon Landaeta, P, Venezuela. (3/16/2000)
    Juan Nunez, P, Dominican Republic (12/7/2000)
    Ricardo Olivar, C, Venezuela (8/10/2001)
    Breilin Ramirez, INF, Dominican Republic (9/6/2002) Bonus: $400k
    Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF, Dominican Republic (2/28/2003) Bonus: $2.5 million
    Endy Rodriguez, INF, Dominican Republic (6/10/2003)
    Malfrin Sosa, OF, Dominican Republic (9/13/2002) Bonus: $900k
    Yonardy Sota, OF, Dominican Republic (1/31/2003) Bonus: $550k
    Amilcar Vasquez, C, Venezuela (12/26/2001)
    Carlos Velasquez, RHP, Venezuela (9/13/2001)
    Joseph Yabbour, RHP, Venezuela (7/9/2003)

    As you can see, all hail from Venezuela or the Dominican Republic.

    And there are definitely some names to remember. Emmanuel Rodriguez received the biggest bonus and will be the highest-ranked prospect on this list for at least a couple of seasons.

    Joseph Yabbour signed the day he turned 16 and will continue both the pipeline of hard-throwing prospects - he’s in the mid-90s already - and the family tradition, which includes the Escobars and Acunas.

    It is expected that every single one of these players will play exclusively in the Dominican Summer League this summer.

    2018-19 Signings (July 2, 2018 - June 15, 2019)

    Hector Acevedo, C (11/20/1997): .183 (17-93 in 28 games), 26:12 K:BB, .296 OBP, .344 SLG (.640 OPS)
    Develson Aria, LHP (3/20/2001): 2-4, 5.25 ERA, 17 games (1 start), 39:27 K:BB in 36 innings
    Julio Bonilla, RHP (11/15/2000): 3-2, 3.20 ERA, 11 games (2 starts), 25:12 K:BB in 25.1 innings
    Yennier Cano, RHP (3/9/1994): 0-0, 4.2 ERA, 10 games, 15:14 K:BB in 15 innings. (Split time between GCL Twins and high-A Fort Myers.)
    Rubel Cespedes, INF (8/29/2000): .271 (45-166 in 42 games), 32:9 K:BB, .322 OBP, .404 SLG (.726 OPS)
    Oscar Corporan, RHP (10/4/2000): 0-0, 27.00 ERA, 2 games, 1:7 K:BB in 1.1 innings
    Rhodery Diaz, OF (9/12/2001): .319 (46-144 in 41 games), 26:18 K:BB, .406 OBP, .458 SLG (.864 OPS)
    Ricardo German, OF (8/17/2001): .208 (10-48 in 15 games), 22:5 K:BB, .278 OBP, .250 SLG (.528 OPS)
    Steve German, RHP (2/15/1999): 0-0, 5.40 ERA, 8 games, 12:9 K:BB in 10 innings
    Carlos Gutierrez, RHP (1/16/2000): 2-1, 5.73 ERA, 15 games (4 starts), 43:11 K:BB in 44 innings
    Jeury Lopez, INF (11/3/2001): .208 (26-125 in 39 games), 55:20 K:BB, .338 OBP, .248 SLG (.586 OPS)
    Jesus Medina, RHP (4/25/2002): 0-2, 7.13 ERA, 8 games (2 starts), 24:11 K:BB in 17.2 innings
    Jorge Mesa, INF (4/2/2002): .196 (11-56 in 17 games), 20:5 K:BB, .262 OBP, .393 SLG (.655 OPS)
    Erasmo Moreno, RHP (6/22/2002): 2-3, 3.35 ERA, 14 games (6 starts), 39:16 K:BB in 40.1 innings
    Anferny Olivo, C (1/12/2002): .197 (14-71 in 23 games), 20:13 K:BB, .329 OBP, .240 SLG (.569 OPS)
    Alexander Pena, INF (4/12/2002): .281 (41-146 in 20 games), 32:13 K:BB, .356 OBP, .411 SLG (.767 OPS)
    Elpidio Perez, LHP (11/11/1998): 1-1, 4.38 ERA, 6 games, 16:7 K:BB in 12.1 innings
    Juan Pichardo, LHP (6/25/1998): 4-1, 1.69 ERA, 14 games (11 starts), 65:9 K:BB in 58.2 innings
    Leyner Ponce, RHP (12/22/2000): 0-3, 4.11 ERA, 20 games, 34:13 K:BB in 30.2 innings
    Saul Puente, INF (7/21/2002): .206 (20-97 in 33 games), 43:10 K:BB, .287 OBP, .217 SLG (.504 OPS)
    Wilker Reyes, LHP (2/25/2002): 1-4, 5.67 ERA, 16 games (5 starts), 33:21 K:BB in 33.1 innings
    Jose Rodriguez, INF (2/17/2002): .221 (32-145 in 40 games), 22:12 K:BB, .285 OBP, .324 SLG (.609 OPS)
    Jose Rosario, INF (12/31/2001): .248 (28-113 in 42 games), 21:33 K:BB, .422 OBP, .283 SLG (.705 OPS)
    Misael Urbina, OF (4/26/2002): .279 (51-183 in 50 games), 14:23 K:BB, .382 OBP, .443 SLG (.825 OPS)
    Miguel Vallejo, OF (8/21/2001): .209 (23-110 in 32 games), 40:13 K:BB, .318 OBP, .309 SLG (.627 OPS)
    A much longer list, adding over 20 prospects in a signing period is very typical. With the exception of Yennier Cano, a Cuban, all of these players played in the DSL last summer.

    Misael Urbina, a center fielder, was the headliner of the group, receiving a reported bonus of $2.75 million. He also put up the most impressive stats. Though stats can sometimes be misleading, Urbina played in more games and hit for more power than any other first-year international player in the organization. He also took more walks than he struck out.

    In addition to age relative to the league, those are some of the biggest things to look at when considering DSL stats. A struggling 16-year-old should be viewed differently than a struggling 21-year-old.

    Things that stood out to me besides Urbina:

    Rhodery Diaz, a switch-hitter who played mostly left field and isn’t much younger than Urbina, put up similar numbers with higher slugging. There just aren’t many guys at this level hitting for much power.

    Jose Rosario is another switch-hitter, who played a lot of second base, and drew more walks than strikeouts. He didn’t hit for a lick of power (only three of his 28 hits went for extra bases) and had 15 stolen bases. When you have great plate discipline, you can learn to become very dangerous. Oh, and at 5-9, 150, there’s a decent chance he’ll get stronger.

    Without having any idea about pitchers’ stuff, I look most closely at K:BB. Despite being older, Juan Pichardo had a 65:9 K:BB ratio in just less than 60 innings. That’s quite impressive.

    Of course, all of these names - with one exception - are seven promotions from the big leagues. The vast majority will never make it past AA, but it’s still fun to follow. And dream.

    • Mar 24 2020 06:19 PM
    • by Jeremy Nygaard