International signing period opens; Cards sign three
The Cardinals announced on Monday, the first day of the international signing period, that they have agreed to terms with three players from Latin America.
Outfielder Luis Bandes, catcher Joshua Lopez and shortstop Edmundo Sosa – all 16 years of age – will be assigned to the Cardinals’ academy in the Dominican Republic. Each player must still pass a physical, as well as a Major League Baseball background check, before these agreements become official.
According to information provided by the Cardinals, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Bandes is the most advanced of these three teenagers. Scouts describe him as having “power potential that projects him as a middle of the lineup bat.” Bandes was signed out of Venezuela.
Lopez also resides in Venezuela and, again according to information provided by Cardinal scouts, projects to be a solid receiver and a threat to use all parts of the field on offense. Sosa, who comes out of Panama City, Panama, is considered one of the better shortstops available during this particular signing period.
The international signing period opens on July 2 of each year for players at least 16 years old who are not eligible for the stateside amateur Draft, which is held in early June.
There is an additional wrinkle in this signing period, as well, this year. The new Collective Bargaining Agreement set limits on international signings that, if exceeded, will cost teams various degrees of penalties. This year, each club receives a money pool of $2.9 million to spend on international free agents.
MLB.com has a list of the Top 20 international prospects available this signing period. You can find that list, as well as more information on each of the listed players, here. I would also highly suggest following my colleague, Jesse Sanchez, as he is heavily involved in MLB.com’s coverage of of the international market. Here is his latest story on players who have signed. You can also follow him on Twitter: @JesseSanchezMLB.
Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB