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Twins Expected to Be Aggressive As 2020-21 International Signing Period Opens


There is no question how important signing international players is to MLB organization. One strong signing class can alter a franchise’s future as Minnesota’s current core includes Miguel Sano, Max Kepler, and Jorge Polanco, who were all signed during the same international signing period.Normally, the signing period opens in July, but this year it got pushed back as teams dealt with the pandemic. Now it will open at 8 AM Central Friday, January 15 with some big names to keep an eye on.

 

Top of the Class

Many consider Cuban outfielder Yoelqui Cespedes to be the top available player during the signing period. He is the younger half-brother of outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Since he is already 23-years old, he could move quickly to get to the big-leagues and there are many that consider him a five-tool talent. Other top players expected to sign include Oscar Colas, Wilman Diaz, Carlos Colmenarez, and Armando Cruz. However, the Twins are not expected to sign any of the top five players in this class.

 

Recent Minnesota Signings

Minnesota has been focused on outfielders in the international market over the last three seasons. Back in 2017, the club signed Venezuelan outfield Carlos Aguiar for a $1 million signing bonus. Minnesota’s 2018 class included Venezuelan center fielder Misael Urbina. Last year’s two biggest names were Emmanuel Rodriguez ($2.5 million) and Malfrin Sosa ($900,000) out of the Dominican Republic.

 

How Can the Twins Spend?

Minnesota has $6.431 million to spend in the current international signing period. This is tied for the highest total with Cincinnati, Detroit, Miami, Milwaukee, and Tampa Bay. MLB.com is expecting the Twins to be very aggressive as the signing period opens.

 

Who Will the Twins Target?

After focusing on outfielders for three years, the Twins will turn to the infield at the top of their 2020-21 signing class. Minnesota has been rumored to be tied to Venezuelan shortstop Danny De Andrade, who MLB.com ranks as the 16th best prospect in the entire class. The 16-year-old comes in at 6-feet tall while weighing 160 pounds.

Even though he is Venezuelan, he has been training for multiple years in the Dominican Republic with Jamie Ramos, a member of MLB’s Trainer Partnership Program. His defensive skills are strong enough to stick at shortstop, but there is some concern that he will need to move to third base because of his size. He can drive the ball to all fields and his bat speed helps to separate him from other international prospects. His body has plenty of room to add strength and he is very projectable.

The Twins are also connected to shortstop, Fredy LaFlor, MLB.com’s number 28 prospect in the class. They compare him to a young Eduardo Escobar and that would certainly make Minnesota fans happy. Scouting reports have him starting his career at shortstop, but he also can shift to center field or second base. He’s a switch hitter with a quick swing.

 

What are your thoughts on this year’s international signing class? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

 

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Great article about this in the Strib this morning. Perhaps someone can link to it.

 

Rob Antony talked about their internal argument of going quality some years (like paying Wander Javier or Miguel Sano $4M and $3.15M, respectively), versus going the quantity approach. Sounds like they are going quantity this year with plans to sign a couple dozen players. Article talks about four shortstops they are expected to sign led by De Andrade...who another source ranks #9. 

 

One question that I have was the confusing comment that the $6.4M they have to spend covers the next eleven months. If this is the draft intended to have begun last July 2, shouldn't it end in June with a new signing period and pool beginning as of July 2, 2021?

 

edit...Read another article that explains these date changes will be in effect for the calendar years 2021 and 2022. Article points out that perhaps there will be an International draft by then.

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16 year olds are low on my list even though I do not know him.  Wander Javier and Cavaco are consistently on the prospect list, but I would like to see some production first.  The CF is the one I like in this age of flyballs and strikeouts the great OF is replacing the infielder as a need. 

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International signings are always hopeful. Hoping to find a prospects that we missed out on the others venues. Hoping to find a great SS that can stick and some potential starters. Rather also quality over quantity

Truth is that about half of the Twins everyday lineup are International Players. Currently includes Sano, Arraez, Polanco and Kepler. Last year would have included Cruz for five of nine. So this is as important as the regular draft.

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Per Baseball America, the #MNwins have signed nine players already today...

 

https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/2020-21-mlb-international-signings-tracker/#Twins

 

 

 

Danny De Andrade, ss, Venezuela (scouting report)
Freddy La Flor, ss, Dominican Republic (scouting report)
Reynaldo Madrigal, ss, Dominican Republic
Luis Rodriguez, ss, Dominican Republic
Andres Centeno, of, Venezuela
Santos Martinez, ss, Dominican Republic
Jose Olivares, rhp, Venezuela
Deiner Contreras, c, Venezuela
Oscar Paredes, rhp, Venezuela

 

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Perhaps someone could help out here.

 https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/top-30-international-bonuses-of-2010/

These players should be entering their prime. Which one is the biggest star? Better yet, how many are still within a major league organization? It would cause one to wonder if the quantity approach would yield more players

 

I wondered the same a few years ago when some posters here were complaining that we were not signing the most expensive International prospects. It made me wonder what evidence there was that it was a good strategy to sign 16 y/o players to huge bonuses. I wondered if it made more sense to spread it out. So, I took a list of the highest signing bonuses of all time and compiled the results. The success stories were few and far between. Sano is among the most productive top $ signings. The vast majority never made it to MLB baseball or were pedestrian at best.

 

I thought I posted the results here but perhaps my memory is off. At any rate, when we have a $6M pool to work with we can sign a $2.2M guy and have plenty to spread around. However, the failure ratio of these really high bonus guys is so high that we should not be upset if our team does more spreading it around then signing "quality" as some have put it. "Quality" where quality is defined as becoming a well above average MLB player, is just to hard to assess at 16 years of age.

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I wondered the same a few years ago when some posters here were complaining that we were not signing the most expensive International prospects. It made me wonder what evidence there was that it was a good strategy to sign 16 y/o players to huge bonuses. I wondered if it made more sense to spread it out. So, I took a list of the highest signing bonuses of all time and compiled the results. The success stories were few and far between. Sano is among the most productive top $ signings. The vast majority never made it to MLB baseball or were pedestrian at best.

 

I thought I posted the results here but perhaps my memory is off. At any rate, when we have a $6M pool to work with we can sign a $2.2M guy and have plenty to spread around. However, the failure ratio of these really high bonus guys is so high that we should not be upset if our team does more spreading it around then signing "quality" as some have put it. "Quality" where quality is defined as becoming a well above average MLB player, is just to hard to assess at 16 years of age.

Thanks for this information, MLR. 

 

Just look at the Twins. Their biggest signing by far was Wander Javier at $4M. Yes, he may still work out, but considering how long ago it would not be unrealistic that he would already be with the Twins if he were going to become a superstar. 

 

Then there is Luis Arraez, who memory serves was signed for $48K after first being told the Twins didn't have any more money left. Polanco and Kepler have both worked out very well and if memory serves were signed for something close to $800K. Personally, really like to see them getting three or four guys in the $750K-$2M range, then adding another dozen for $25K-$75K.

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Thanks for this information, MLR. 

 

Just look at the Twins. Their biggest signing by far was Wander Javier at $4M. Yes, he may still work out, but considering how long ago it would not be unrealistic that he would already be with the Twins if he were going to become a superstar. 

 

 

Yeah, it's still a crap shoot, but that same year Vlad Guerrerro Jr also signed for 3.9M. Vlad was MLB.com's #7 international prospect while Javier was #12. Interestingly Gilbert Celestino was the #11 prospect but he only got 2.5M. Also in the top 30 were Juan Soto at #25 who signed for 1.5m and Fernando Tatis Jr at #30 who signed for 700K.

 

While 2015 was a banner year, and the rankings, money and evaluations are never going to be perfect, it's probably still in the Twins best interest to grab some of the top guys, even if they aren't THE top guys.

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Always interesting.... Wish they would make them wait until they were 18 and combine with the minor league draft.... that way all the teams would have an equal shot at the players.... 

Good point-and this would be nice in many ways. The only counter argument I have is that baseball is many of these gentlemen's chance of leaving a pretty rough life in some pretty rough areas...

 

 

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Cody's article says he's 6'. Even so, I'm not concerned about his height. Ripken was 6'4" and I don't think today's game pigeonholes players to a position due to their size as much as they used to. Plenty of tall guys are fast, quick and agile. 

 

I'd bet if they played baseball instead, all of those tall speedy receivers in the NFL would either be playing CF or SS.

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Happy to see they went heavy on infielders this year.  With Wander floundering and the uncertainty of Lewis at short and how his bat will play there aren't as many options as the Twins have for outfielders.  We haven't developed a good this third baseman since Koskie so hopefully they shore the infield up in the coming years.  

 

They also could use more pitching.  Here's to hoping there is a Tatis in there somewhere.

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Always interesting.... Wish they would make them wait until they were 18 and combine with the minor league draft.... that way all the teams would have an equal shot at the players.... 

Isn't the opposite actually true? A draft makes it so that only the teams at the top have a chance to sign the "top players." It's the main reason for drafts as it gives the worst teams the first shot at the "best" players if they can scout correctly. This auction format gives teams more options on how they want to play things. As some on here have said it gives teams a choice between quantity and quality. If you're convinced the number 1 guy is going to be a star throw your whole allotment of money at him. Or you can spread it out and try to sign as many as possible and give yourself a bunch of lottery tickets. I actually wish the draft would go to this type of format and give teams more avenues to be strategic and fill their organizations with talent how they see fit.

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Yeah, it's still a crap shoot, but that same year Vlad Guerrerro Jr also signed for 3.9M. Vlad was MLB.com's #7 international prospect while Javier was #12. Interestingly Gilbert Celestino was the #11 prospect but he only got 2.5M. Also in the top 30 were Juan Soto at #25 who signed for 1.5m and Fernando Tatis Jr at #30 who signed for 700K.

 

While 2015 was a banner year, and the rankings, money and evaluations are never going to be perfect, it's probably still in the Twins best interest to grab some of the top guys, even if they aren't THE top guys.

 

2015 was a tough year for the Twins in the drafts. Tyler Jay and Javier. And look at all they missed for less. Ouch.

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Cody's article says he's 6'. Even so, I'm not concerned about his height. Ripken was 6'4" and I don't think today's game pigeonholes players to a position due to their size as much as they used to. Plenty of tall guys are fast, quick and agile. 

 

I'd bet if they played baseball instead, all of those tall speedy receivers in the NFL would either be playing CF or SS.

 

Height in a receiver has a very distinct advantage. NFL QBs throw if enough precision to put the ball in a zone where only the taller player can reach it. SS movement is much more about quickness and length does not promote quickness. Reach can’t be overcome with quickness in football. It can in baseball. I am assuming the draft philosophy is that these bigger but athletic prospects project to be power hitting 2B & 3B that can still be great defenders at those positions.

 

The fact that an occasional 6’4 guy sticks at SS does not diminish Rdehring’s point that taller guys are less likely to stick. Likelihood refers to the portion of the population, right. So, what is the height distribution among top shortstops?

 

The first list are the highest WAR SS from 2019 & 2020. It’s not cumulative, I took the top guys from both years. 17 of the top 25 are 6’1 or under.  The 2nd list are the guys that rated the highest defensively. 8 of the top 12 are 6”0 and under. This is not exactly sophisticated data gathering. However, this sample and history going much further back suggests that a player growing to 6’4 or above likely means the odds of being a top defensive SS are very low.

 

Jean Segura - 5’10
Francisco Lindor – 5’11
Miguel Rojas – 5’11
José Iglesias – 5’11
Jorge Polanco – 5”11
Javier Baez – 6’0
Marcus Semien - 6’0
Paul DeJong – 6’0
Kevin Newman – 6’0
Bo Bichette – 6’0
Willy Adames – 6’0
Xander Bogaerts – 6’1
Tim Anderson – 6’1
Gleybor Torres – 6’1
Jonathan Villar – 6’1
Adalberto Mondesi – 6’1
Danby Swanson – 6”1
Trevor Story – 6’2
Trea Turner – 6’2
Amed Rosario – 6’2
Didi Gregorious – 6’2
Nick Ahmed – 6’2
Fernando Tatis Jr. – 6’3
Andrelton Simmons – 6’3
Corey Seager – 6’4

Paul DeJong – 6’0
Javier Baez – 6’0
Trevor Story – 6’2
Andrelton Simmons – 6’3
Marcus Semien - 6’0
Adalberto Mondesi – 6’1
Miguel Rojas – 5’11
Francisco Lindor – 5’11
José Iglesias – 5’11
Nick Ahmed – 6’2
Willy Adames – 6’0
Elvis Andrus – 6’0

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