The Rangers have a long history on the international market and are once again among the busiest teams during the international signing period.
According to industry sources, the Rangers have agreed to a $4.2 million deal with outfielder Bayron Lora, ranked No. 3 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 International Prospects list, and a $1.65 million deal with shortstop Maximo Acosta, who is ranked No. 17. The Rangers have not confirmed the agreements.
At 6-foot-3 and almost 200 pounds, Lora is tall, strong and what evaluators like to see in corner outfielders. At the plate, he has lots of raw power and excellent bat speed. The 16-year-old hits everything hard, high and often far to all fields. Like most players his age, Lora is still tweaking his swing, but he has good mechanics at the plate and a feel for the strike zone.
On defense, he reads the ball well off the bat and has shown flashes of his solid, average arm strength. He displays proper mechanics in the outfield and has the potential to be an overall average defender in the future.
He can also run – he’s been clocked at 6.7 seconds in the timed 60-yard run – and he’s a smart baserunner that does not clog up the bases.
As for Acosta, he’s one of the best all-around players in this year’s class. At the plate, he stays inside the ball well and is a line-drive, gap-to-gap hitter now, but many believe the power will come as he continues to grow and mature. Acosta has a plus hit tool and the potential to be a .300 hitter in the future with his balanced approach and ability to use the entire field.
An average-to-plus runner, Acosta runs a 6.60-second 60-yard sprint and has a strong feel for the game at shortstop, a position scouts feel he’ll be able to stick at long-term. He’s a plus defender with a plus arm.
The Rangers have also reached a $836,000 agreement with shortstop Zion Bannister of the Bahamas, MLB.com has learned, and right-handed pitcher Lester Medrano of Nicaragua.
According to the rules established by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, clubs that receive a Competitive Balance Pick in Round B of the Rule 4 Draft receive 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 $5,939,800.
The Rangers have bonus pools of $5,398,300.
Teams are allowed to trade as much of their international pool money as they would like, but can only acquire 60 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 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.