Wednesday marked the start of the 2014-15 international signing period, a day when some of the best teenage prospects in the world will sign with teams and take a huge step toward fulfilling their Major League dreams.
With the international signing period officially under way, here is a look at MLBPipeline.com's Top 30 International Prospects and which of them have agreed to terms with clubs so far:
1. Dermis Garcia, SS, Dominican Republic - Yankees ($3,000,000) More »
2. Nelson Gomez, 3B, Dominican Republic - Yankees ($2,250,000) More »
3. Adrian Rondon, SS, Dominican Republic
4. Gilbert Lara, SS, Dominican Republic - Brewers ($3,100,000) More »
5. Juan DeLeon, OF, Dominican Republic - Yankees ($2,000,000) More »
6. Christopher Acosta, RHP, Dominican Republic - Red Sox ($1,500,000) More »
7. Jonathan Amundaray, OF, Venezuela - Yankees ($1,500,000) More »
8. Brayan Hernandez, OF, Venezuela - Mariners ($1,850,000) More »
9. Antonio Arias, OF, Venezuela - Yankees ($800,000) More »
10. Anderson Espinoza, RHP, Venezuela - Red Sox ($2,000,000) More »
11. Juan Meza, RHP, Venezuela - Blue Jays ($1,600,000) More »
12. Pedro Gonzalez, SS, Dominican Republic - Rockies ($1,300,000) More »
13. Hyo-Jun Park, SS, South Korea - Yankees ($1,100,000) More »
14. Wilkerman Garcia, SS, Venezuela - Yankees ($1,350,000) More »
15. Arquimedes Gamboa, SS, Venezuela - Phillies ($900,000) More »
16. Diego Castillo, SS, Venezuela - Yankees ($750,000) More »
17. Huascar Ynoa, RHP, Dominican Republic - Twins ($800,000) More »
18. Christopher Torres, SS, Dominican Republic
19. Julio Martinez, OF, Dominican Republic - Tigers ($600,000) More »
20. Ronny Rafael, OF, Dominican Republic
21. Franklin Perez, RHP, Venezuela - Astros ($1,000,000) More »
22. Yeremy Rosario, SS, Dominican Republic - Rockies ($800,000) More »
23. Miguel Angel Sierra, SS, Venezuela - Astros ($1,000,000) More »
24. Ricky Aracena, SS, Dominican Republic - Royals ($850,000) More »
25. Miguel Flames, C, Venezuela - Yankees ($1,000,000) More »
26. Amado Nunez, SS, Dominican Republic - White Sox ($900,000) More »
27. Kenny Hernandez, SS, Venezuela - Mets ($1,000,000) More »
28. Jhoandro Alfaro, C, Colombia - White Sox ($750,000) More »
29. Bryan Emery, OF, Colombia
30. Ricardo Rodriguez, C, Venezuela - Padres More »
This is how it works:
A 16-year-old international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 through June 15 of next year if the prospect turns 17 before Sept. 1 of this year or by the completion of his first Minor League season. Additionally, any prospect who is already 17 or older and has not previously signed a Major or Minor League contract, resides outside the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico and has not been enrolled in a high school or college in the U.S., Canada or Puerto Rico within the previous year is eligible to sign during the period.
There are specific signing guidelines each team must follow.
In 2012, in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement, spending limits were introduced and each club was allotted $2.9 million to spend on the international market during the signing period that began that July 2.
For the second consecutive year, those numbers have changed. Each team is allotted a $700,000 base and a bonus pool based on the team's record in 2013, a figure ranging from $5,015,400 for the Astros, who had the Majors' lowest winning percentage last year, to $1,866,300 for the Cardinals, who had the highest winning percentage.
The signing bonus pools are made up of four slot values.
Additionally, for the second consecutive year, clubs are allowed to trade pool money. The exemption that allowed clubs to sign up to six players for bonuses up to $50,000 without counting against the allotment has been eliminated this year, but all bonuses of $10,000 or less are also exempt.
There are penalties in place for teams exceeding their spending limits.
Teams that exceed the pools by 0 to 5 percent have to pay 100 percent tax, and teams that exceed the pools by 5 to 10 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $500,000 during the next signing period and also have to pay a 100-percent tax on the pool overage. Teams that exceed the pools by 10 to 15 percent are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next signing period and have to pay a 100-percent tax on the pool overage.
In the most severe penalty, teams that exceed the pool by 15 percent or more are not allowed to sign a player for more than $300,000 during the next two signing periods, in addition to paying a 100-percent tax on the pool overage.
The international signing guidelines do not apply to players who previously signed a contract with a Major or Minor League club, nor do they apply to players who are least 23 years old and have played as a professional in a league recognized by the Commissioner's Office for a minimum of five seasons. Cuban players who are at least 23 and have played in a Cuban professional league for five or more seasons are also exempt.
Here is a look at each team's allotted bonus signing pool:
Astros - $5,015,400
Marlins - $4,622,400
White Sox - $4,273,200
Cubs - $3,962,700
Twins - $3,686,600
Mariners - $3,440,700
Phillies - $3,221,800
Rockies - $3,026,700
Blue Jays - $2,852,900
Mets - $2,697,800
Brewers - $2,611,800
Padres - $2,531,200
Giants - $2,455,300
Angels - $2,383,700
D-backs - $2,316,600
Orioles - $2,253,100
Yankees - $2,193,100
Royals - $2,136,800
Nationals - $2,083,600
Reds - $2,033,400
Rangers - $2,015,500
Rays - $1,998,100
Indians - $1,980,700
Dodgers - $1,963,800
Tigers - $1,946,900
Pirates - $1,930,400
Athletics - $1,913,900
Braves - $1,897,900
Red Sox - $1,881,700
Cardinals - $1,866,300