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International Signing Report Card


Roughly 20% into the season, we've already seen 24 international players sign on, with 5 of them landing bonuses north of $10 million. From time to time here we'll assess the respective value of these signings by assigning letter grades that consider the following: player projections, likelihood of reaching and performing at the big league level, age, size of investment, etc. You get the idea.
(Keep in mind, this is all based upon my 14M advance scouting reports. Someone with $20m sunk into advance scouting[Las Vegas Jackson, etc], or $5[Fargo], for that matter, would see the prospects as worth more or less. We're probably close to the league average here.)

SP Odalis Leon, Cleveland Spiders. $22m bonus.
-While we only see his overall projection as 75, Leon offers the potential for excellent control, splits, and a superlative four-seam fastball that all equal a potential #1 ace. However, there is reason for concern: his secondary pitches are mediocre and need work beyond their projections, his durability and stamina are fairly low at 17/18 and 62/67, and his makeup(64/73) is probably not high enough for him to actualize his projections. Our greatest concern, though, are his stamina/durability #s that make Leon look like, in a best-case scenario, a Latin Rich Harden.
Grade: C+

SP Ruben Candelaria, Las Vegas Longballers. $20m bonus.
-Although his projections are not quite as gawdy as Leon's, Candelaria will likely contribute much more to his franchise in the future. Strong durability and health will mean that Candy can throw many more innings in development and reach his potential. And with excellent control, good GB/FB #s, and two solid out pitches, Ruben will just need to overcome his weakness vs. right-handed hitters. Looks like a future borderline #1/strong #2 SP.
Grade: B

SP William Hyun, Pawtucket Patriots. $14.3m bonus.
- The third of the big 3 SP thus far, Hyun is solid in all respects, if unspectacular. His only kryptonite seems to be right-handed hitters. Hyun can become a good #3 SP, but doesn't have any Cy Youngs in his future.
Grade: B-

2B Tony Unamuno, Vancouver Maintaineers. $11.6m bonus.
-In the rush for SP, Unamuno may have slipped through as a relative bargain. If he can overcome his weakness against right-handed pitchers, Unamuno has all the tools to be a productive 2B/LF or a long time. If only he could run.
Grade: B+

RP Karim Pichardo, Florida Sunrays. $11m bonus.
-Pichardo is a future closer with no glaring holes in his game. This would be a stellar signing if not for one thing: 11 mill is a lot to spend on an 18 year-old who's not going to throw more than 70 innings per season.
Grade: B

RP Enrique Manual, Chicao Vipers. $5m bonus.
-Possessing superb control and a four-seam fastball/slider combination, Manual is a 21 year-old Cuban who shouldn't need long in the minors. He can become an excellent set-up man, though he has a propensity to hang his fastball, inviting hitters to leave the yard with it.
Grade: B

3B Jimmie Feliz, Buffalo Hunters. $4.7 bonus.
-Scouts hope that Feliz' knack for hitting doubles into the gaps will develop into HR power as he matures, but they also hoped the same thing for Sean Burroughs. Solid defense and splits mean that Feliz just needs to overcome his weak contact/batting eye to be a contributor at the big league level.
Grade: B-

Comments

cleveland spiders said…
I'll agree with everything said about Leon, except maybe the C+ grade. After searching around the league for comparables, I figure he's good for 25-30 starts in an injury free year, maybe just north of 6 IP/GS. I was hoping his best years would look like Pedro Martinez circa 2001-2003. You know: occasionally injured, always fragile, but still dominant when he pitches. And how else are you going to get that kind of talent other than (admittedly) overpaying for an IFA?
cleveland spiders said…
Oops, let me amend that. I agree with everything said about the durability and stamina issues. As far as secondary pitches go, it looks to me like he has pitches 2 thru 4 projected in the (very) low 60s. Not excellent, but they compare quite well with Brett Tracy's secondary offerings. :)
mnnorthstars said…
What, no North Stars here? Willie Torres projects comparably to Leon in health, makeup, stamina, control, velocity, p1, p2, and p3. He only lags behind in l, r, g/fly, and p4, but he is ahead in durability, which means more starts, and he is 2 years younger. Oh, and he cost almost a tenth as much. The North Stars brass pencils him in as Wes Henderson's replacement in the rotation once Wes passes through his arbitration years.
rls said…
we only addressed players who signed for over 3M in this round, which is probably why no one earned an A, since the investments were all so high. we'll cover Torres in the next round, and he should score well.
rls said…
your aadvance scouting on Leon is more accurate than mine, Cleveland, so you may be right. and i do like the Pedro comp, though i don't see how Leon can get enough innings to fully develop and reach his projections. and to clarify, the C+ grade is weighted as much by his bonus as by his potential. in the big picture, though, i'm rooting for Cleveland and look forward to you proving me wrong here.

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