The new international amateur free-agent signing period begins Thursday. Earlier this week, I wrote an international signing primer to lay out the rules and regulations associated with the period. Now it's time to look at the top prospects.
Below is my list of the top 10 international prospects eligible to sign during what is called the "J2 period," according to the J2 guidelines outlined by Major League Baseball. As I noted in the primer, the Los Angeles Dodgers are heavily represented here and likely will decimate the rest of the field as far as spending is concerned, as has been reported by multiple outlets, including Ben Badler at Baseball America, Kiley McDaniel at FanGraphs and Jesse Sanchez at MLB.com.
Most of the players below have been heavily attached to teams for months while a few, including Lucius Fox and Eddy Martinez, have living, breathing markets as we speak. On the whole, this class lacks generational star power but does have a half-dozen potential All-Stars and a deep middle class of about 20 players who have enough tools to project for some sort of big league value.
On to the top 10 international prospects:
1. Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Cuba
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 175
Birthdate: March 7, 1996
Alvarez was declared a free agent at the end of May, about two weeks after the deadline for being eligible to sign at the back end of the period that just ended (when the Yankees and Red Sox would have been authorized suitors). Instead, he's rumored to have a massive deal in place with the Dodgers.
Alvarez has been seen just a few times by scouts, but the stuff he has displayed in those outings has been electric.