There are more ways to stock a farm system with prospects than just the draft and the plays on that concept, such as the Rule 5. International signings are yet another route for stockpiling talent, and it's how the Red Sox ended up with their current top prospect, Xander Bogaerts, as well as the likes of current rotation member Felix Doubront, and former top Sox prospect Hanley Ramirez.
With that in mind, Baseball America's Ben Badler wrote about all of the international signings the Red Sox made in the 2012 calendar year, with much of that falling under the new budget constraints imposed by the most recent collective bargaining agreement.
We've discussed many of these names before -- shortstop Tzu-Wei Lin, right-hander Jose Almonte, lefty Daniel McGrath -- but Badler offers scouting reports on the bunch, as you'd expect, with lengths consistent with the intrigue of the player in question. Lin, McGrath, and Simon Mercedes, who signed prior to the new international signing budgets, inked for big money, with Lin signing a record for an Asian player at $2.05 million, and Mercedes pulling in $800,000, while McGrath got $400,000. Many of the rest, such as Dominicans Wendell Rijo and Heri Quevedo, came under the constraints of the budget, and were for much less money per player in order to fit into that. In Rijo's case, his price should have been higher, but he required ACL surgery -- should he recover fully, then the Sox have themselves, in Badler's words, a bargain.
If you're wondering why players like this haven't shown up in Boston's prospect rankings yet, it's because many of them are of the age where they are going to be in Rookie-level ball for the foreseeable future -- it's tough to project that far ahead for players who no one even is sure are ever going to play full-season ball, never mind the big-league variety.
Plus, it's kind of weird to be so creepily specific about the positive and negative attributes of a 16-year-old's body and how he could grow into it, so the less of that, the better for all involved.
While full, non-perverted details from the scouting reports can be found at Baseball America, we'll share one thing that everyone, subscription to BA or no, should be aware of:
The Red Sox also made a pair of signings that sound almost too bizarre to be true. They signed identical twins from Venezuela, both named Luis Basabe, both switch-hitters who throw righthanded, both are around the same size and each of whom signed for $450,000 when they turned 16 on Aug. 26. Luis Alexander Basabe is an athletic, 5-foot-11, 165-pound center fielder with above-average speed, a 55 arm that could be plus in the future and solid power. Luis Alejandro Basabe is a 5-foot-10, 160-pound second baseman who also has plus speed. Alejandro has shown better ability to manipulate the bat head than his brother, though Alexander has more power. Alejandro has an average arm and some scouts think he might end up joining his brother in the outfield too. The brothers are from Anaco and trained with Jorge Agudelo.
If only the two could wear the same number.
If you missed it last year when he signed, video exists of McGrath pitching in Australian tournaments. Enjoy: