The MLB draft is the most crucial way for a team to build a farm system. If you look at the Baseball America Prospect book, about 150 players that were drafted in the 1st 10 rounds this season are now top 30 prospects. Another 15 or so were drafted after the 10th round. Another 16 were signed this season from across the globe.
I'm speaking in generalities here because I don't have the exact count, I'm just using the information I have but it is within a few players. These numbers would be on the low end of the actual number.
Looking at the players signed in 2009, 129 were top 10 round picks, 18 were latter round players and 18 were international players.
Another jump in international players happens with players signed in 2008 where 109 were top 10 round picks, 22 were after the 10th round and 25 were international players.
The peak of the international players making their way into the book is the 2007 season where only 71 players drafted in the top 10 rounds remain in the book, 17 from the latter rounds and 39 are international signings.
More and more players signed internationally pop up on the prospect radar each season as they get older and prove themselves more in the minors. I hope that I can help identify the best of these players early on so you know where the talent is coming from and make your smartest friend feel behind when prospecting.
Today, Baseball America posted their top 20 prospects for the Foreign Summer Leagues today. I always like to compare my results with the guys who are the experts to see how I'm doing.
I don't have contacts in the Dominican or Venezuela like the pro's at BA do but of their top 20 prospects they posted today, 13 of them showed up on my VSL and DSL lists. Two others played in the Arizona League and the Gulf Coast leaguer and were eliminated from placement on these lists due to that. I only place each player on one league list and it is typically the highest level they played.
3 others had poor statistical season and missed but have good enough stuff or tools that their performance is overlooked. There is one player I am dissappointed I missed on: Jordaneli Carvajal. He is a SS in the Pirates system and had a good enough season to place, but I did not rank him. He just missed my list.
All in all, I am pretty happy the way it turned out. Not fantastic considering I named 80 players and 7 of the top 20 according to BA weren't on it, but it gives a list of players to look at, and in 5 years it may look a lot different.
Here is the link to all my top prospects by league. The DSL and VSL are at the bottom where 80 players I named may begin their climb onto top 100 lists and making their own imprint on Major League Baseball, just be patient, it may take 5 or 6 years.