The 2019-2020 international signing period was unlike any in the previous years because of COVID-19, but in one way, it was exactly the same.
As in year’s past, teams continued to sign players up until the deadline, which was originally scheduled to end June 15, but was pushed back until Oct. 15 this year.
In all, 14 international prospects were signed on the final day of the 2019-2020 period and 34 were signed during the final weeks. While the majority of the 1,022 international signings for the period took place in the summer of '19 after the signing period started on July 2, 160 signed in '20.
• 2019-2020 Top 30 International Prospects list
Teams are staying busy and the action will resume in earnest when the 2020-21 international signing period that was scheduled to begin on July 2, 2020, starts on Jan. 15, 2021. That period ends on Dec. 15, 2021.
It’s worth noting that international scouting shut down at the height of the pandemic when many countries and local districts had versions of a lockdown in place. Scouting has since re-opened with numerous safety-related restrictions in place, subject to the rules and regulations of the region in which a scout is operating, as international scouting spans continents and dozens of countries.
Here’s a look at how the teams fared during the 2019-2020 international signing period:
Pool Amount: $6,231,200
Pool Spent: $6,219,500
The D-backs signed 45 prospects, including center fielder Franyel Baez ($1 million), third baseman Ronny Polanco ($500,000) and shortstop Lewin De La Cruz ($525,000). Most of the prospects signed were from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, but the club also signed players from Cuba (INF Jean Walters), Nicaragua (INF Elian Miranda) and the Netherlands (RHP Jediah Kwidama).
Pool Amount: Zero
Due to previous violations of international signing guidelines, the Braves did not have a bonus pool amount and could not sign an international player for more than $10,000 each during the 2019-2020 period. The club signed 17 prospects, a group that included three outfielders, four shortstops, two catchers and eight pitchers.
Pool Amount: $5,731,200
Pool Spent: $4,876,000
The Orioles signed 44 prospects, highlighted by outfielder Luis Gonzalez ($475,000) and infielder Leonel Sanchez ($400,000) of the Dominican Republic. In addition to Venezuela, the club also signed prospects from Aruba, the Bahamas, Colombia and Curacao.
Pool Amount: $5,559,500
Pool Spent: $5,402,001
The Red Sox signed 38 prospects and gave the most money to outfielder Juan Chacon of Venezuela at $900,000. The club’s second-highest bonus went to right-handed pitcher Chih-Jung Liu of Taiwan at $750,000. The group also includes right-handed pitcher Kawan Silva of Brazil, Cuba outfielder Kevin Garcia and right-handed pitcher Irving Medina of Mexico.
Pool Amount: $5,148,300
Pool Spent: $5,148,300
The Cubs signed 34 prospects including the No. 6 prospect on the International Top 30, Ronnier Quintero ($2.9 million), No. 11 Kevin Made ($1.5 million) and No. 30 Brayan Altuve ($748,000).
Pool Amount: $5,508,000
Pool Spent: $5,508,000
The Reds signed 29 prospects, most notably shortstop Braylin Minier ($1.85 million) of the Dominican Republic and third baseman Michel Traina of Cuba, who signed for $1.3 million. In September, the club signed left-handed pitcher Nicolo Pinazzi of Italy for $50,000. The other signings were from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela.
Pool Amount: $4,981,200
Pool Spent: $4,861,500
The Indians signed 43 prospects, including shortstop Jose Pastrano of Venezuela (No. 25 on the International Top 30) for $1.5 million. The club also made a large investment in Panama, signing center fielder Luis Durango for $500,000 and countryman Kenny Pinto, a left-handed pitcher, for $100,000. Shortstop Angel Contreras of Colombia was the only other signed prospect not from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela.
Pool Amount: $6,070,000
Pool Spent: $6,070,000
Shortstop Adael Amador, who the club signed for $1.5 million and ranks No. 12 on the Top 30 International Prospects list, is the biggest standout among the 25 prospects the club signed. Additionally, the club signed right-handed pitcher Victor Juarez of Mexico for $500,000 along with outfielder Oscar Aude, left-handed pitcher Albert Pacheco, and Esneider Gomez for $400,000 each. Gomez was the club’s highest-paid prospect out of Venezuela.
Chicago White Sox
Pool Amount: $3,905,000
Pool Spent: $3,905,000
The White Sox signed 17 prospects, and none was bigger than shortstop Yolbert Sanchez of Cuba, who signed for $2.5 million. The club also signed shortstop Elijah Tatis, the younger brother of Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., for $400,000. Twelve of the prospects signed were from the Dominican Republic and four were from Venezuela.
Pool Amount: $5,398,300
Pool Spent: $5,240,000
The Tigers signed 30 international prospects and spent more than $5 million on the international market during the 2019-2020 period. The biggest bonuses went to outfielder Roberto Campos of Cuba ($2.85 million), Venezuelan shortstop Manuel Sequera ($750,000), and outfielder Abelaldo Lopez ($700,000) of the Dominican Republic. The only prospect not from Cuba, the Dominican Republic or Venezuela was right-handed pitcher Erick Rodriguez of Mexico, who signed for $40,000.
Pool Amount: $5,398,300
Pool Spent: $5,398,300
The No. 14-ranked prospect on the International Top 30, Dauri Lorenzo ($1.8 million) of the Dominican Republic, and Venezuela catcher Juan Santander ($700,000) are the headliners in this year’s class. Of the 20 prospects the club signed, 19 of them are from the D.R. and Venezuela. Outfielder Everette Cooper of the Bahamas signed for $325,000. Lorenzo is expected to participate in the club’s instructional league in the U.S.
Pool Amount: $6,322,000
Pool Spent: $6,319,500
The Royals signed 30 prospects, including Erick Pena (No. 5 on the International Top 30) who signed for $3,897,500, and was among the highest-paid prospects in the 2019-20202 class. He’s expected to participate in the club’s Instructs in the U.S. Other prospects to watch are catcher Mario Melendez and center fielder Luis Echenique, who are both from Venezuela.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Pool Amount: $5,366,400
Pool Spent: $5,354,000
The Dodgers signed 50 prospects, including Luis Rodriguez (No. 4 on the International Top 30) of Venezuela, who signed for $2.6 million. Other high profile signs include catcher Yeiner Fernandez ($717,500) of Venezuela and right-handed pitcher Lesther Medrano ($472,500) of Nicaragua. The club signed right-handed pitcher Roque Gutierrez, an intriguing prospect out of Mexico, late in September for $10,000.
Los Angeles Angels
Pool Amount: $5,398,300
Pool Spent: $5,395,000
The Angels signed 30 prospects, highlighted by a pair of shortstops in Arol Vera (No. 9 on the International Top 30) of Venezuela and Adrian Placencia (No. 28) of the D.R, who signed for $2 million and $1.1 million, respectively. The list includes shortstop Jose Bonilla ($600,000), who is also from the Dominican Republic. Twenty of the prospects inked by the club signed for $75,000 or less.
Pool Amount: $5,939,800
Pool Spent: $5,939,000
The Marlins signed 21 prospects and loaded up at the shortstop position with a talented trio of infielders. The club inked the No. 10 prospect in the international class, Jose Salas of Venezuela, for $2.8 million and No. 24 Junior Sanchez ($1.15 million) of the D.R. They also signed Ian Lewis of the Bahamas for $950,000. The pitchers receiving the biggest bonuses were right-handers Kendry Montesino and Eury Perez, both of the D.R.
Pool Amount: $5,689,800
Pool Spent: $5,689,800
The Brewers signed 38 prospects led by Luis Medina (No. 13 on the International Top 30), an outfielder from Venezuela, that signed for $1.3 million. In all, the club signed 23 prospects out of Venezuela. The list also includes center fielder Hedbert Perez ($700,000), along with shortstops Jheremy Vargas ($650,000) and Alexander Perez. The club also signed Delson Guzman, a right-handed pitcher from Spain. Medina is expected to participate in the club’s instructional league in the U.S.
Pool Amount: $5,939,800
Pool Spent: $5,880,000
Outfielder Emmanuel Rodriguez, ranked No. 8 on the International Top 30, was the club’s biggest investment at $2.5 million. In all, the Twins signed 22 prospects, a group that includes outfielder Malfrin Sosa ($900,000), infielder Yonardy Soto ($550,000) and right-handed pitcher Joseph Yabbour ($530,000). Cuba’s Kevin Marrero, who signed for $50,000, was the club’s only prospect not from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela.
New York Mets
Pool Amount: $5,398,300
Pool Spent: $5,325,000
The Mets stocked their Minor League system with a whopping 61 international prospects signed during the 2019-2020 period. While outfielder Alexander Ramirez (No. 26 on the International Top 30), who signed for $2.05 million, deserves attention, the club hopes others can produce in the short and long term. The Mets also have high hopes for outfielders Eric Santana ($350,000) and Yeral Martinez ($335,000).
New York Yankees
Pool Amount: $5,835,800
Pool Spent: $5,762,000
The Yankees signed 38 prospects total, but none garnered the attention of outfielder Jasson Dominguez, the top-ranked international prospect in the class, who signed for $5.1 million. Dominguez, who is already the club’s top-ranked prospect, won’t make his highly anticipated pro debut until 2021. The Yankees signed prospects from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Panama, Cuba, and Mexico.
Pool Amount: $5,807,000
Pool Spent: $5,807,000
The A’s signed 23 prospects, but the biggest name and the biggest bonus belonged to shortstop Robert Puason, who signed for $5.1 million. Puason, the No. 2 prospect in the entire class, trained with the big league club at the alternate site during the regular season and continues to make progress. The A’s also signed right-handed starter Shoehei Tomioka out of Japan for $42,000 at the beginning of the year.
Pool Amount: $4,571,400
Pool Spent: $4,571,000
The Phillies signed 35 prospects with the most notable being Yhoswar Garcia. The outfielder was originally scheduled to sign at the start of the 2019-20 international signing period that started on July 2, 2019, but he was ruled ineligible for a year because of an age issue. He later signed on March 14, 2020 for $2.5 million. In addition to Garcia, the Phillies also inked shortstop Randy Vasquez ($350,000), right-handed pitcher Jean Hernandez ($300,000), infielder Jehisbert Sevilla ($275,000) along with catchers Jose Colmenarez ($250,000) and Jackie Pertuz for $200,000.
Pool Amount: $8,488,700
Pool Spent: $8,406,000
The Pirates signed 49 prospects and saved their biggest signing for last. Early in October, the club signed Taiwanese pitcher Po-Yu Chen for a $1.25 million signing bonus, one of Pittsburgh’s highest-paid international amateur signees ever. The Pirates had previously signed right-handed pitcher Cristopher Cruz ($850,000), No. 20 on the Top 30 International Prospects list, left-handed pitcher Yojiery Osoria ($600,000) and outfielder Enmanuel Terrero ($600,000). The Pirates signed right-handed pitcher Bladimir Dotel two days before the deadline to complete their class.
Pool Amount: $8,231,200
Pool Spent: $8,230,000
The Padres signed 31 prospects, a group that includes No. 15 on the International Top 30, No. 19 Ismael Mena ($2.2 million), No. 19 Brayan Medina ($700,000), No. 22 Reginald Preciado ($1.3 million) and No. 29 Luis Gutierrez ($750,000).
Pool Amount: $5,370,000
Pool Spent: $5,370,000
The Mariners signed 21 prospects, an intriguing group that featured right-handed pitcher Kristian Cardozo, who ranks No. 21 on the International Top 30, was on track to sign with the Dodgers and later signed with the Mariners for $375,000. The biggest financial commitments were to outfielder George Feliz for $900,000 and right-handed pitcher Jose Corniell for $630,000. Shortstop Andres Mesa of the Dominican Republic, who signed for $500,000 is also a player to watch. Feliz is on the roster for club’s instructional league in the U.S.
Pool Amount: $5,398,300
Pool Spent: $5,398,300
The Giants signed 50 prospects, a group that includes prospects from the D.R., Venezuela, Colombia, and Nicaragua. Left-handed pitcher Esmerlin Vinicio was the highest-ranked prospect at No. 23 on the 2019 list. He signed for $750,000. The club also has high hopes for a pair of shortstops from Venezuela in Aeverson Arteaga and Anthony Rodriguez, who signed for $1 million and $800,000, respectively. The Giants also signed shortstop Yeison Lemos of the Dominican Republic for $600,000 and seven catchers, led by Panama’s Adrian Sugastey ($525,000).
Pool Amount: $5,467,000
Pool Spent: $5,467,000
The Cardinals signed 37 prospects, a group that includes players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Australia, Aruba, Mexico and Colombia. The biggest bonuses went to Venezuela shortstop Jeremy Rivas ($600,000), right-handed pitcher Edwin Nunez ($525,000) of the D.R., and Jose Davila ($475,000), a right-handed pitcher from Venezuela. Twenty-one of the prospects were signed for $100,000 or less each.
Pool Amount: $ 6,439,800
Pool Spent: $6,420,000
The Rays signed 38 prospects during the 2019-2020 period, a group that was led by No. 18 on the International Top 30, Jhon Diaz, an outfielder from the Dominican Republic who signed for $1.5 million. Center fielder Jose Pena from the Dominican Republic received the second-highest bonus at $750,000 and shortstop Wilmer De La Cruz rounded out the top three at $675,000. The club signed catcher Raudelis Martinez of Cuba for $150,000 in September in its last significant move of the period.
Pool Amount: $6,781,100
Pool Spent: $6,773,000
The Rangers signed 44 prospects highlighted by No. 3 on the International Top 30, Bayron Lora ($3.9 million), No. 17 Maximo Acosta ($1.65 million) and outfielder Zion Bannister of the Bahamas, who signed for $836,000. The club loaded up on young arms by signing 29 pitchers, including five that were left-handed. Thirty-eight of the prospects were signed for $10,000 or less each.
Pool Amount: $5,580,100
Pool Spent: $5,490,000
The Blue Jays signed 47 prospects led by No. 27 on the International Top 30, Rikelvin De Castro, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic who signed for $1.2 million. Other prospects worth noting include Estiven Machado ($775,000) and outfielder Robert Robertis ($750,000), who are both from Venezuela, along with outfielder Peniel Brito ($600,000) of the Dominican Republic.
Pool Amount: $4,321,400
Pool Spent: $4,315,000
Right-handed pitcher Andry Lara of Venezuela, No. 16 on the Top 30 International Prospects list, was the club’s biggest signing at $1.25 million, followed by left-handed pitcher Pablos Aldonis, who inked for $1 million. In all, eight of the 16 prospects the club signed during the international signing period were pitchers. The team also made significant investments in outfielder Roismar Quintana ($820,000) of Venezuela and infielder Dawry Martinez ($600,000) of the Dominican Republic.
Jesse Sanchez, who has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.