MLB Opens In-Person International Scouting With New Rules
Major League Baseball informed clubs on Monday night that in-person international scouting—banned since March due to the coronavirus pandemic—can now resume, with a two-part plan.
Effective immediately, teams are allowed to scout international players in person, as long as the club personnel doing so do not need to fly in a plane or stay in a hotel. A scout who lives in the Dominican Republic can scout players in the Dominican Republic and a Venezuelan scout can go see players in his area, as long as it's not an overnight trip. A scout in Florida can see any international players who are currently in Florida as long as it's not an overnight trip, but isn't allowed yet to fly to the Dominican Republic to scout players there.
Related: 2020-21 International Prospects Class Preview
Starting on Oct. 1, travel restrictions will be lifted, meaning scouts can fly to see players and make overnight hotel stays as well. Most international scouting directors and many of their top assistants live in the United States, so this rule will allow them to resume traveling to see players in person.
The new scouting rules also limit teams to three scouts per event. At events where there are simultaneous games happening at adjacent fields, the three-scout limit applies to the entire event, rather than each individual game. Clubs are not allowed to conduct any workouts or tryouts at their own facilities, so the in-person scouting activities will happen at the fields where the international amateur players train, or other non-club fields. In-home visits are also off limits.
The current 2020-21 international signing period, which was scheduled to close on June 15, was extended until Oct. 15, followed by a three-month closed period with no signings. The opening of the 2021-22 signing period, which would have started this year on July 2, will now start on Jan. 15 and runs through Dec. 15. These are the players projected to sign for the top 50 bonuses of the 2020-21 signing class.