Starting this week on July 2 through June 15 2016 MLB teams can sign international to a contract. The player must be 17 or will turn 17 by the end of the first season of his contract.
Additionally, any prospect that is already 17 or older and has not previously signed a Major or Minor League contract, resides outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and has not been enrolled in a high school or college in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico within the previous year is eligible to sign during the period.
Each team is allotted a base of $700,000 and a bonus pool made up of four slot values based on the team’s record for the previous year to spend on these prospects. Including the base, the money allotted to spend ranges from $5,393,900 for the D-backs, who had the Majors’ lowest winning percentage last year, to $1,968,600 for the Angels, who had the highest winning percentage.
Additionally, clubs are again allowed to trade pool money. Bonuses of $10,000 or less are exempt and do not count against the allotment.
Teams that exceed the pools by 0 to 5 percent have to pay 100 percent tax, and teams that exceed the pools by 5 to 10 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the next signing period and also have to pay a 100 percent tax on the pool overage. Teams that exceed the pools by 10 to 15 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next signing period and have to pay a 100 percent tax on the pool overage.
In the most severe penalty, teams that exceed the pool by 15 percent or more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods, in addition to paying a 100 percent tax on the pool overage. Cuban pitchers Yadier Alvarez, Vladimir Gutierrez, Ernesto Martinez and Carlos Sierra, along with outfielders Yusnier Diaz, Yordanis Linares and 16-year-old Jonathan Machado, will be subject to the international signing guidelines because of their age and experience, but they do not qualify for MLB.com’s list of Top 30 International Prospects for 2015 because they have not been declared free agents. Cuban infielder Andy Ibanez is eligible to sign, but it’s unclear if he will join a team during the current period or will wait until the next signing period.
This years International Draft has two players from Cuba, one from the Bahamas, nineteen from the Dominican Republic, five from Venezula, one from Panama, and one from Belize.
The top five players to watch include:
Eddy Julio Martinez OF
Yadier Alvarez RHP
Lucius Fox SS
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. OF
Starling Heredia OF