D-backs making splash on international market

July 2nd, 2019

The D-backs are close to adding one of the most intriguing prospects on the international market to their system.

According to industry sources, the D-backs have agreed to a deal worth $1 million with outfielder Franyel Baez of the Dominican Republic. The team is also targeting shortstop Ronny Polanco.

The club has not confirmed the deals.

There are at least two schools of thought when it comes to Baez.

Some evaluators see raw talent that needs some polish. Others choose to focus on his untapped potential and envision a future with Baez as an everyday player roaming the outfield in Major League stadiums in a few years.

This is what we know now: There is lots of upside and lots to like about the young prospect.

Starting with his physique, Baez is well-built and athletic. He’s not a burner on the basepaths or on defense for that matter, but he can play center field and cover ground because of his quick reactions and long strides. As a result, he projects to be a plus defender in the future.

At the plate, he has a smooth swing from both sides and makes hard contact to all fields. He has a knack for putting the bat on the ball and projects to have more power in the future. He has an above-average arm now and is working on improving his accuracy. He’ll need more games once he signs to improve on all of his skills and is likely headed for the Dominican Summer League for more experience.

The athletic Polanco hits line drives to all fields and has home run potential. He shows good glove actions and decent footwork on defense.

According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs like the D-backs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft have the most money with a pool of $6,481,200 for spending on international prospects, while clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A of the Rule 4 Draft receive the second most at $5,939,800.

Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but clubs can only acquire 60 percent of another team's initial pool amount. Additionally, signing bonuses of $10,000 or less do not count toward a club's bonus pool, and foreign professional players who are at least 25 years of age and have played in a foreign league for at least six seasons are also exempt.

Under the previous system, teams were penalized for exceeding their bonus pools with consequences that ranged from taxes on their spending to the maximum penalty, which was being prohibited from signing any prospect for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods. That’s no longer the case and there are no longer penalties. Teams can only spend their allotted bonus pools and the monies acquired via trade.