July 2 Preview

There really is no bigger boom or bust day in professional sports than the opening of baseball’s international signing period on July 2.  Starting tomorrow teams will sign 16 year olds to contracts for hundreds of thousands of dollars hoping they have found the kid with superstar potential.  Many won’t get past complex league,  others will change body shape too much, more will fail to go from showcase player to baseball player, but some will emerge as real prospects.  The amount of ways to bring talent into your system are finite and the international signing period remains one of the most exploitable.

The Phillies have been more aggressive in recent years signing three “top” players in 2012 in RF Jose Pujols, C Deivi Grullon, and RHP Lewis Alezones, in addition to 100k+ signees Gregori Rivero and Wilker Isavas.  While they may not sign the top player available they certainly will spend close to their allotted slot money on guys more in the 50k-200k range. 

Speaking of slot money the Phillies have $2,289,700 to spend on players.  There are various exceptions for lower money signings but they are not relevant to the July 2 discussion.  The Phillies will not spend over this amount and you can complain all you want about it, but it is not going to happen.  That is probably enough to sign one top player and another 2 of the next tier (the fringes of top prospect list guys).  This also means the Phillies are likely out on many of the bigger names that they are not already linked to as teams like the Red Sox (3.17 million) and Cub (4.55 million) who are both aggressive, have a lot more money to spend.

I am not going to give any scouting reports or lists of players because it would be a poor impression of others.  If you want scouting reports and player signing predictions (the Phillies are really only linked to Luis Encarnacion) go here http://www.baseballamerica.com/international/ Ben Badler does a great job.

Don’t Panic on July 3: The Phillies long rumored top target is Dominican 3B Luis Encarnacion.  While he may not stick at 3B long term the bat shows good in-game contact and current plus power.  Encarnacion is currently only 15 and won’t be eligible to sing until August 9 (much like Carlos Tocci in 2011).

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

66 thoughts on “July 2 Preview

  1. “Currently only 15.”

    It’s fairly remarkable that scouts can hit on any of these guys at all when they’re being looked at at such a young age.

    I don’t think Phillies scouts get enough credit for signing so many kids who turn out to be successful prospects, especially considering they don’t touch the big-money, “safer” guys.

  2. It is such a crapshoot betting on 15 yr old kids. The odds have to be very low. I like the idea of spreading money around to several “maybes” rather than to one “likely” because I don’t believe the assessment is definitely accurate. Let’s hope we can find another Franco, Tocci or even Chooch.

  3. I am particularly weak when it comes to Int’l signing. Am I right in that the Phillies used to be horrible in terms of money spent but have improved over past few years? At they atleast middle of the road in money spent on Int’l signing?

    1. They used to be really bad, but they have been spending more and more each year.

      Since 2008 for 100k or more they have signed Tocci (750k), Pujols (500k+), Grullon (500k+), Vargas (330k), Santana (250k), Franco (100k), Alezones (330k), Isava (100k), Rivero (110k).

      That is more than the rest of their history combined. They acknowledged recently that they need to spend more money and they have to some extent upped their spending.

      1. Wonder what the chances that the Phils can pry some Int’l dollars from a trade partner ahead of the deadline; sign an int’l prospect this week, then use the extra dollars to induce Encarnacion to sign. I could dream can’t I?

        1. If I recall correctly most outlets reported that it would be around a $1 million signing but that his agent was asking for $1.3 million.

      2. The Phillies also signed Lino Martinez for 325K and Miguel Nunez for 220K. They signed Sergio Velis and Jiandido Tromp for 100K apiece. They also signed Anderson Gonzalez for 300K and Fransico Silva for 200K, but those bonuses were taken back, when they found out they lied about being 16 and were really 19 year olds.

        1. Phillies have $2.3M to play with this year. Split it between two players…Encarnacion and Devers. Then sign all the $50K and less players in the world if they want to get quantity.

          1. Devers has signed with Boston for $1.5 million, which means they could have had him but he would have been their only large splash in the market,

            1. As it stands, Encarnacion will be their only large splash anyway, so it comes down to whether we would rather have Encarnacion or Devers.

  4. Thank you Chris, for the link. Before I came to this I was looking at the impressive number of international signees who lead the National and American leagues in batting and pitching. Those teams who get the producers in this market are rewarded handsomely. I am glad to see that the Phillies are active in both markets and a box-score look at our Dominican and Venezuelan academy products, shows promising players; plus those on our GCL team. Our Venezuelan academy looks as if it producing competitive players. Encarnacion looks very good as leaning toward signing with the Phillies. Hopefully this is the time when our system starts to produce players who can impact significantly at the major league level.
    While saying this, I also believe that in this past ten years in which the Phillies have finished on or near the top of their league, they have not been aggressive in signing top talent internationally. Because of our poor draft positions, we have not competed for the top talent available internationally — the only source available to the Phillies of really impactful players like those at the top of the top of league pitching and hitting categories. I believe this has been a mistake. We ignored the top niche of the market that could have kept us competitive.
    Now with the new rules that make it more even among the competing teams, the risk to spend a lot of money risking a clunker on the International market is no longer the great advantage. I hope the skilled scout, Augustinelli, will serve us well in the new set-up.

  5. BA has a subscriber only article listing each team and what they see for this signing period

    Here is a summary:

    They are “enchanted” with Encarnacion

    Phillies are not generally players for the $1 million + players (duh!!)

    Looks like they are willing to do what it takes to get this done (wow!!)

    OF Edwin Rodriguez is another player they may sign (I don’t know anything about him)

    Another artilce predicts the signing of their top 30 … Encarnacion is the only projected to sign with the Phillies

    1. Not sure I am excited over the upcoming internation signing period, or depressed or disillusioned knowing what will transpire over the next few weeks. By mid-July I will see all the usuals, ie Sox, Rangers, Yanks, Dodgers, Cubs and probably even the White Sox, stepping up and signing one or two each of the high profile guys. And then wait for the Phillies to get their man in August, and then, all the while saying how excited they are and tell all the writers what a coup they did by getting Luis Encarnacion.

    1. Chris,
      It said that Edwin Rodriguez “hit for the cycle” in sending his team to the championship game of the Inter-neighborhood League of Santiago, Dominican Republic. He is originally from Puerto Plata, but the 16 year-old is playing in Santiago where he has lived for some time. They have renamed him “Oscar Taveras”.

    2. “The young man in the league quoted Ruddy Disla, sponsored by Vitico Garcia Sued, Junior Edwin Rodriguez, hit for the “Cycle” last weekend at Estadio Cibao, leading his team to the Grand Final Interbarrial Baseball here, ….. Edwin Junior Rodriguez, whom they call “Oscar Taveras “Puerto Plata Sosua precisely, but settled here some time ago opened with two-run homer, putting his squad ahead, then followed with RBI triple, RBI double and RBI single to achieve the feat of” Cycle “in the final deciding game of division B of Interbarrial of Santiago. Rodriguez, with his torrid hitting, was chosen the MVP of this series, where Ruddy stopped in the road to Cornelius. The barely 16 years is being followed by talent scouts for displaying in the field……………” .

  6. How does the MLB break down the slots for international signings? Is it like the draft were the worse team gets the most then it gets lower for each team down the line?

    1. 1. Astros $4,943,700…..2. Cubs $4,557,200…..3. Rockies $4,213,800
      4. Twins $3,908,600…..5. Indians $3,636,900….6. Marlins $3,395,200
      7. Red Sox $3,179,900….8. Royals $2,988,100….9. Blue Jays $2,817,100
      10. Mets $2,664,600…11. Mariners $2,580,000….12. Padres $2,500,800
      13. Pirates $2,426,000….14. Diamondbacks $2,355,700…15. Phillies $2,289,700

    1. Yes….•The Red Sox and Phillies are both interested in Dominican prospects Rafael Devers and Luis Encarnacion, writes Ben Badler of Baseball America (subscription required). Devers and Encarnacion are thought to be two of the best hitters on this year’s July 2 market, and Badler expects both to sign for over $1MM. Badler says that early reports on Devers liken him to Hank Blalock as a teenager

      1. Oh shucks! The Phils missed out on yet another. We will get the next good one in line for sure.

  7. Boy do I hate this slotting crap. Nothing like billionaires screwing teenagers out of money. (This applies to the rule 4 draft as well)

  8. In other news today, MLB just announced that the International Signing period has ended earlier than expected. The Rangers signed everybody. Thanks for coming folks, have a safe trip home.

  9. The Rangers are geniuses…I envy them as an organization. Everyone knows MLB is moving toward an international draft. Since draft order will probably be based on record, the Rangers can expect to draft near the bottom once that happens. They’re figuring to overspend, get top talent now, and get penalized in the next year when the top talent will probably be drafted by the Marlins, Cubs, Astros (as long as they don’t trade their pool).

    1. MLB already announced that their will be no draft in 2014. The Rangers are just punting their ability to sign International FAs during that period. Their pool was expected to be limited (your idea), but it will still be the slot system next year.

  10. I also envy the Rangers. They are light years ahead of the Phillies when it comes to understanding the value of amatuer talent.

    But I have to say, while I am all for trading for slots to spend more money in any given year, I am not super crazy about forfeiting the chance to sign anybody over $250K the following year. When you are talking projecting on 14, 15, and 16 year old kids, alot can change from year to year.

    In a perfect world the Phillies would be somewhere between the limp fish they are now in their approach to LA and Cujo the rabied dog approach that the Rangers represent.

    I would like to see the Phillies trade for some slot money. Maybe get 2 of the top 10-15 players or so. And then fill in with lesser signings. But maintain their ability to do the same thing year in and year out until there is a draft. Ideal scenario for 2013 for me would have been that the Phillies traded for $900K in extra money, signed Zapata for $1.6M, signed Encarnacion for $1M and filled in around the edges from there. But keep the options open for 2014.

  11. Maybe i dont understand this latin market like a lot of people on here. Say you would spend 8 million dollars, for three years, and only hit on one kid like a profar. or andus, or beltre, dont you control his salary for years. if he comes up in two years, only pay him minimum salary, first year, and how long do you control him, makes sense to spend, cause one player saves you a ton over free agent players, who can kill you with 100 to 200 million dollar deals. or a werth type deal, rather trust my scouts and go that route for talent. but maybe i am wrong about control. and raises.

    1. Ok a couple of things here, but I want to start by saying you are starting on the right track:
      - All amatuer players signed as amatuers under club control for a minimum 6 major league years (give or take with service time), 3-4 of those years will be arbitration and the other years will be whatever the team wants to pay (it isn’t uncommon to give a raise beyond the minimum to engender good will)
      - It is really hard to pick the Profar, Andrus, and Beltre’s out of a crowd of 16 years olds, though in general you are fairly safe betting on the largest money guys with good makeup
      - If you go too far over in a year to sign one of these guys you miss out on the quantity approach to find guys in the tier down a notch or two (100k-250k) where you find guys like Taveres and Franco who have talent but maybe a flaw

      Much like the draft the idea is that cost controlled talent is incredibly valuable, and not just on the star level, would you rather pay $2 million for a reliever or 500k. You want to diversify more than your plan (something the Phillies have done), but you are right you need to spend money on top talent (something the Phillies have not done). I am not sure how I feel about bingeing one year and taking the next year off.

  12. “@JSalisburyCSN: Phillies signed OF Bryan Marelo,16, from Colombia for 230k and OF Jesus Alastre, 16, from Venezuela for 50k.”

      1. Below average speed (40 speed) is probably about major league average. So he probably won’t be stealing bases but it isn’t a detriment either.

  13. What’re the odds we end up with Encarnacion in August? Like 60-65%? The reports about the White Sox being all over Zapata and the Red Sox wanting Devers both turned out to be accurate. Are we involved with any Dominican or Venezuelan pitchers??

  14. The German guy from last month would have been on last years draft budget from MLB anyway. You’re allowed to sign 6 players for $50K or under and they don’t count against the bonus pool, Anyone $10,000 or less doesn’t count..

    Jesus Alestre? Signed for $50k today so he doesn’t count against their draft pool, but the other two do.

  15. Have the Phillies shown any interest in the Italian SS Gasparini? To me it sounded like Agostinelli may have been scouting him earlier this year. This quote is from a Longenhagen article about the German player the Phillies signed.

    I have since made a few calls and got in touch with Phillies Director of International Scouting, Sal Agostinelli, who was gracious enough to tell me a little bit about Kamara.

    “We went to (redacted foreign country) to check out (redacted international player whose name I won’t give out until he signs because it can do the Phillies no good for me to tell you who it is)

    1. They were likely interested but I am guessing liked him less than Encarnacion. The Royals signed him for 1.2 million I believe so the Phillies could not really have done both

  16. did the phils sign the wrong edwin rodriguez? maybe that’s why the other one was called oscar Taveras.

    1. Thanks OT. I love the picture of Bryan and his family. They look so proud. Looks like he is a five tool right fielder.. He’ll represent Colombia in an international tournament. Not bad for a sixteen year old. He will play in Venezuela in 2014.

      1. Lots of money for an ‘unknown’ guy. I wonder what other teams were pursuing him.

        BA had short writeup on his signing and said he has a 55 arm and profiles to RF. (Like I really care about a 16 yrs olds OF arm. Can he hit?) Oh, they also mention he has power potential since he is listed at 6’3″. (Maybe he is just the tallest 16yr old in Colombia.) I think I could have guessed at his profile from just the height and position.

        Thanks for the additional info and links from OT and Puddinhead.

  17. You know, the last thing I want to do is to encourage the troll, but I’ll say this: I hope they are highly confident of their ability to sign Encarnacion, because if they don’t, it really will end up being a very disappointing international haul this season.

    1. I hope that’s the case after refreshing MLB Rumors fifty times in the past 48 hours hoping for a Phillies reference. A good deal of money left in play so I’m not sure how they can possibly be confident with a player of Encarnacion’s profile

  18. You do realize that quite a few players (Encarnacion included) can’t sign until they turn 16?

  19. Just signed a guy for 230K. The German dude from last month I’m sure also cost a few hunder K also. Phils are going to spend their International dollars, the big guy they want will sign in August. Might wanna relax a little.

  20. I think we need to wait until Encarnacion signs before we rush to judgment. By all accounts the Phillies have been all over him. If he does in fact sign with the Phillies for $1M or more it would make sense that they would have few signings between now and August 9th to save enough money to make sure they get him and no team can try to undermine their bid at the last minute.

    We will know by August 10th how successful this International period has been for the Phillies.

  21. Encarncion doesn’t turn 16 until August 9. He can’t be signed until then. He is one of the top 5. Hold your outrage. If they don’t sign him, August 9, then have at it.

  22. Wow you completely miss the point that the guy the Phillies are targeting to sign, Luis Encarnacion, isn’t eligible to sign until August 9, would be a million dollar signing, and would consume almost the entirety of the Phillies international signing pool.

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