Why The MLB International Showcase Has Hybrid Feeling

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic—Major League Baseball's international amateur showcase is one of the most unusual events on the scouting calendar.

It's technically amateur scouting. The players are all 15 or 16, mostly from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. The earliest any of them will sign is July 2, when the 2017-18 international signing period opens.

Yet the popular joke among scouts is that they're here to do their pro coverage. Yeah, they're seeing a lot of the top 2017 international prospects, but most of those players might as well already be with another club, since many of them already have unofficial agreements in place to sign. With the increasingly expedited speed of the international market, there are 2018 players—and even 2019s—who already have unofficial commitments.

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