We're less than two months from the start of the new international free agency signing period, which begins on July 2. It's the time of year that, in the past, has brought the Red Sox current players like Xander Bogaerts and Felix Doubront, as well as a few of their up-and-coming prospects such as Wendell Rijo and Manuel Margot. We're going to hear the Red Sox linked to quite a few players in the next couple of months: the most recent is Huascar Ynoa, the younger brother of Athletics' prospect Michael Ynoa, according to Baseball America's Ben Badler.
The 15-year-old Dominican right-handed turns 16 at the end of this month and is already 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds:
Ynoa's stuff is advanced for his age. At his best, he throws 88-92 mph with a 73-77 mph curveball that has good rotation, projecting as a possible future above-average pitch. He throws his changeup with good arm speed, flashing as an average to a tick above-average pitch at times. He mixes his pitches liberally, throwing any pitch in any count.
If not for control problems in Arizona's International Prospect League's spring training tour, he might very well have been the top pitcher on the international market this July 2. Given that, he'll likely cost whomever signs him over a million dollars -- it's already known the Red Sox are willing to part with that for a single prospect this July, though, despite the fact they have the second-lowest international signing budget in the league.
Obviously, they'll continue to scout Ynoa to see if his Arizona issue was a blip or a real concern before committing that kind of cash to a teenager. As Badler notes, teams have been rewarded for their "diligence" in following players like Ynoa's whose stock fell ever-so-slightly with July 2 approaching.
At the least, we know Huascar won't pull in the $4.25 million bonus his brother did back in 2008, as the international market's spending rules have changed too much for that to happen in the last six years.
The Red Sox have also been linked to some of the market's other top pitching prospects, such as Venezuelan right-hander Andres Espinoza, as well as another Dominican righty, Christopher Acosta. All three are believed to be in line to receive seven-figure bonuses, and while the Sox won't get all of them, they just might go out of their way to attempt to snag two.