The start of the international signing period is one of the most important dates on the baseball calendar.
:: 2018 International Signing Period ::
It's the day teen prospects from across the globe take the first real steps in their professional career. It's the day general managers and international scouting directors make baseball dreams come true.
And while the ultimate goal is to find the next international superstar, there are several ways for teams that invest on the global market to succeed. Here's what you need to know about the international signing period, which starts Monday.
An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 and June 15 of the following year if he is 17, or will turn 17 by the end of the first season of his contract.
Clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the First-Year Player Draft received a pool of $6,025,400, while clubs that received a Competitive Balance Pick in Round A received $5,504,500. All other clubs receive $4,983,500.
Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 75 percent of a 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 also are exempt.
The bonus pools are as follows:
Signing Bonus Pool B ($6,025,400): Reds, Marlins, Brewers, Twins, Athletics, Rays
Signing Bonus Pool A ($5,504,500): D-backs, Orioles, Indians, Rockies, Royals, Pirates, Padres
Signing Bonus Pool ($5,004,500): Cardinals
Signing Bonus Pool ($4,983,500): Braves, Red Sox, Cubs, White Sox, Tigers, Astros, Angels, Dodgers, Yankees, Mets, Mariners, Giants, Rangers, Blue Jays, Nationals
Signing Bonus Pool ($3,949,000): Phillies
Which teams will be active
More than 950 prospects signed during the last international signing period, and that number could increase during the 2018-19 period because thousands have registered to become eligible.
In addition to prospects from traditional baseball hot spots like the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil and the Bahamas, there also are prospects from places including Europe, the Caribbean islands and Asia who are eligible to sign.
Teams expected to be busy when the international signing period opens include the Blue Jays, Brewers, D-backs, Mariners, Phillies, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies, Tigers, Twins and Yankees. The Cubs, Dodgers, Giants and Royals -- teams that will no longer be in the penalty for exceeding their past international bonus pool spending -- also are expected to be very active.
The A's, Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Nationals, Padres, Reds and White Sox are in the maximum penalty, so they cannot sign any individual player for more than $300,000 during the upcoming period.
The top prospects
This year's top 30 international prospects list includes 16 players from the Dominican Republic, 10 from Venezuela, three from Cuba and one from Colombia. The positions break down like this: 11 outfielders, eight infielders, seven pitchers and four catchers.
Three of the top 13 are catchers and three of the top 10 are pitchers. Shortstops and center fielders are also highly coveted in this year's class.
The Dodgers are the favorites to sign Venezuelan catcher Diego Cartaya, ranked No. 1 on the list, and the Giants are expected to sign No. 2, Marco Luciano, a power-hitting outfielder from the Dominican Republic. Venezuelan outfielder Misael Urbina, ranked No. 3, is an above-average hitter with plus speed who is linked to the Twins. The Blue Jays are the favorites to sign power-hitting shortstop Orelvis Martinez, who hails from the Dominican Republic and is ranked No. 4, and Richard Gallardo, a right-handed pitcher from Venezuela, rounds out the Top 5 and is expected to sign with the Cubs.
A trio of familiar names are expected to sign during the upcoming period. Luisangel Acuna, the younger brother of Braves rising star Ronald Acuna Jr., is expected to sign with the Rangers, and Jose Baez, the younger brother of Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez, is on track to join his big brother in the Cleveland organization. The White Sox are the favorites to sign Miguel Tejada Jr., the son of former Major League infielder Miguel Tejada.
Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.