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2021-22 International Bonus Board

INTERNATIONAL BONUS BOARDF

By Ben Badler

Below is Baseball America's international prospect bonus board, sorting the players in the 2021-22 signing class based on the top 50 expected bonuses. That means the No. 10 player on this list is in line to sign for the 10th highest bonus this year, not that he's the No. 10 ranked player in this class.

The signing period opens on Jan. 15, 2022, pushed back from the original July 2, 2021 date. The reality, of course, is that many of these players have had a signing commitment going back two or three years. Once a player commits to a team, he generally is no longer scouted much in a competitive environment by the other 29 clubs, since the player already has a signing commitment.

If you've read BA for years, you know that's nothing new, even if Major League Baseball doesn't publicly acknowledge this reality. I wrote a long story almost eight years ago about what was happening. In the last few years, the speed of the signing process accelerated even faster, which I wrote about again before the 2019 signing period.

So unlike amateur players in the United States who are scouted all the way up to draft day, there are a lot of players who will sign on Jan. 15 where the latest substantive reports teams have on them are from 2019. Players that age can change dramatically over the course of a few months let alone multiple years, growing taller, improving their tools by two to three full grades and changing their skill sets in the process.

Given the reality of what's happening in Latin America, that's why we have shifted over the last couple of years from a straight talent ranking to a bonus board pre-signing. I think that's the most honest and fair approach to treat these players (most of whom are still 16 and 17), all of the people involved in scouting, developing and training the players, and to be straightforward with our readers. Our board is the best guide available to know the big international prospects in this international class, with reports on each player, where they're signing and videos from seeing these players over the past few years.

Any player in the 2021-22 class who is expected to wait for the following year (the 2022-23 period) to sign isn't on this board either, since they won't be signing during this upcoming period. That has become a more common path to sign for prominent Cuban players, since by the time they leave Cuba and become available to sign, teams have already committed most if not all of their bonus pool money for the upcoming signing period.

2 Matches
Expand Collapse All Updated on: 1/6/2022
  1. 32
    redsox-900x6351.jpg

    Fraymi de Leon

    Dominican Republic SS
    Video
    Notes:

    Born: Sept. 28, 2004. B-T: B-R. Ht.: 5-11. Wt.: 157.

    De Leon is one of the best defensive shortstops in the class. He's a quick-twitch athlete who is light on his feet with smooth actions and good body control at shortstop. De Leon has soft hands, a strong arm and good instincts, reading the ball well off the bat with a good internal clock for his age. All of that was true when de Leon stood out at an MLB Trainer Partnership Program showcase in Arizona in November 2019 when was 5-foot-9, 130 pounds. While he's added weight since then, continuing to get stronger will be crucial for his offensive development, as he's a switch-hitter with a repeatable swing who will need more strength to be able to do more damage.

    Team: Red Sox

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  2. 37
    redsox-900x6351.jpg

    Freili Encarnacion

    Dominican Republic SS
    Notes:

    Born: Jan. 26, 2005. B-T: R-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 175.

    Encarnacion is strong for his age, an offensive-minded infielder who drives the ball with impact for extra-base and over-the-fence juice. He's not a dead pull hitter either, with a sound approach for his age and the ability to hit to all fields. Encarnacion has trained as a shortstop, though he might end up sliding over to third base.

    Team: Red Sox

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