16 year-old Dominican pitcher Michael Inoa broke the signing bonus record last week when he agreed to become the baseball property of the Oakland A's for 4.25M. Clearly MLB GMs are amateurs when it comes to the big-time market for international players.
Capra's 1st large $ international signing of S9 landed this afternoon when the Florida Sunrays inked 18 year-old Dominican pitcher Karim Pichardo for a robust 11M. Pichardo is an offspeed/sinker specialist who projects as possible late-inning ace for the Rays, if his development goes according to plan.
Earlier this season Jimmie Feliz signed with the Buffalo Hunters for 4.7M, a relatively modest amount in the landscape of HBD internationals. The competition for internationals in Capra was not always this steep, however.
Let's look back to Season 1's three biggest bonuses and see what happened:
P Alberto Vargas. 8.8M, Scranton Breakers.
Vargas has never quite panned out. He was effective in five minor league seasons for the Breakers, saving 77 games and getting named to four All-Star squads, but continues to have trouble translating that success to the majors. In three big league seasons he has amassed 277 innings and a high 4 era, servicable, but not the slam-the-door-guy the Breakers were looking for. In fact, Scranton dealt him to Atlanta(now Chicago) in S7 where he continues to work out of the pen in middle relief.
P Alfonso Ferrer. 5.5M, El Paso Diablos.
The 2nd largest signing of S1, Ferrer has spent 8 seasons bouncing between AA and AAA as a middling reliever. He has a career 4.68 era in the minors and has yet to see any meaningful time in the majors.
CF Hector Jacquez. 5M, Honolulu Rain.
The third and final player from our inaugural season to cross the 5M bonus mark, Jacquez has met with much more success than the names above him. After spending a mere season-and-a-half in the minors, Jacquez got the call in S3 and never looked back. In six big league seasons he has averaged 272/335/447 w/ 20 hrs and 75 rbis per. Entering S8, the Rain rewarded Jacquez with a 5 year/$38M contract.
Here are some other intern'l signees from S1 that worked out well:
SS Albert Tatis. 3.8M, Fargo Woodchippers.
Perhaps the jewel of the class. Became the Chippers starting SS halfway through S4, won a WS trophy in S5, and is the 2-season and running NL Gold Glover. Oh yeah, has thrown up a career 307 BA. Just what fucking Fargo needs.
2B Oswaldo Cabrera. 3.1M, St. Louis Archers.
Cabrera has been traded a couple times, first to Tacoma then to Jacksonville, and seems to have found a home in the latter, where he has won a gold glove and just last season hit 287 and swiped 70 bases.
LF Yamid Pinzon. 2M, Augusta Black Bears.
Pinzon was traded to Boston in S3, and has flourished in Fenway's infamous left field. In four full-time seasons he's averaged 303/360/551, 27 hrs and 85 rbis. Got a four-year, 22+M contract before this season.
SS Frank Li. 2M, Albuquerque Roadrunners.
After repeating grade AAA a couple times, Li became the Roadrunners top glove man in S7 and has averaged 8hr, 26sb, and a nifty 985 fielding %.
There are some other productive big leaguers from this class(Aramis Tapies, Yoo-Nah Torres, Oswaldo Javier , Marino Flores), but they have yet to prove consistent in their big league production.