See also: Scouting Reports: Top 30 International Prospects For July 2
See also: Signing Predictions For The Top 30 Prospects
See also: Team-By-Team International Forecasts
See also: International Bonus Pools And Slot Values
Scouting and ranking international prospects is a different process from doing so on the pro or amateur side in the United States. In the draft, teams are primarily scouting 18-year-old high school seniors and 21-year-old college juniors, with every organization having access to the same basic information because every prospect plays in public games. Some teams may spend more time watching certain prospects and they might bring in a handful of players for pre-draft workouts, but whether a team is scouting Carlos Rodon at N.C. State or Brady Aiken at his high school games or with Team USA, every club makes decisions off the same publicly available looks.
Scouting Latin America is a different animal. Teams are watching kids who are 15 and 16, which already makes the projection more difficult to peg, before the reality that many of the players are using false ages, steroids or both. There are national and international tournaments, as well as trainer-organized games run by the Dominican Prospect League and the International Prospect League, but much of the scouting work is done by teams bringing players into their academies, where teams can work players however they best see fit. A player who looks great at one team’s academy for a week might go to another club’s academy and struggle, leaving those organizations with two very different perceptions of the player based on private information.
This year in particular has been challenging for teams to track prospects. While oral agreements to sign are commonplace and tacitly accepted by Major League Baseball (though officially against the rules), the industry trend has gone to teams striking agreements in some cases at least 10 months before July 2, at which point players stop going through the tryout process. Between that and the political and social unrest in Venezuela, 2014 has presented a more difficult landscape to navigate.
As a result, every team’s board—if they even have a board—looks very different. Our goal is to provide independent analysis that captures the international consensus—to the degree that such a thing exists—on the top international prospects eligible for July 2. While we have seen most of the players on this list in person, our rankings and scouting reports are based on discussions with scores of scouts across the world who have evaluated these players extensively.
Scouts will never be in complete unison on players who are 15 and 16, but the top four players on this list earned widespread praise and separated themselves as the best players in the class. Beyond that, teams have different preferences and philosophies of what they value, and after the top 20 or so players, the list flattens out considerably, with mostly raw projects (even by relative standards) that cause more disagreement among scouts. The signing bonuses, due to both legitimate reasons and corruption, will not match our rankings.
The list does not include players from Cuba or Japan (teams never sign the top Japanese prep players) or players from previous July 2 classes. There are talented Latin America players who are 17 or 18, but the logistics of tracking them are difficult enough that we’re omitting them from consideration.
These rankings are not handed down on stone tablets, but we’re confident that our reports accurately capture the players’ present skill sets and how the players are seen within the international scouting community. If you enjoy having detailed international coverage, we hope you will consider supporting that with a Baseball America subscription.
|1||Adrian Rondon||SS||Dominican Republic||6’2″||180|
|2||Juan De Leon||OF||Dominican Republic||6’1″||175||Video|
|5||Gilbert Lara||SS||Dominican Republic||6’3″||205||Video|
|6||Nelson Gomez||3B||Dominican Republic||6’2″||210||Video|
|9||Dermis Garcia||SS||Dominican Republic||6’2″||185||Video|
|11||Christopher Acosta||RHP||Dominican Republic||6’3″||170||Video|
|12||Pedro Gonzalez||SS||Dominican Republic||6’4″||160||Video|
|14||Huascar Ynoa||RHP||Dominican Republic||6’2″||190||Video|
|17||Ricky Aracena||SS||Dominican Republic||5’7″||175||Video|
|18||Hyo-Joon Park||SS||South Korea||6’2″||170||Video|
|19||Miguel Angel Sierra||SS||Venezuela||6’0″||160||Video|
|20||Christopher Torres||SS||Dominican Republic||6’0″||170|
|25||Ronny Rafael||OF||Dominican Republic||6’1″||180|
|26||Amado Nunez||SS||Dominican Republic||6’2″||175||Video|
|27||Jesus Sanchez||OF||Dominican Republic||6’2″||180|