Ben Badler at Baseball America came out with his outstanding International Prospect signings earlier this month, covering all players who got six figure (or more) bonuses over the 2015 signing period. It is behind the BA paywall but if you have a subscription, don't miss that series of articles.
This also means that it is time to finalize my 2015 Shadow Twins international signings. As many of you know, I started doing a Shadow draft for the Twins way back in 1996, creating my own alternate universe farm system. I started doing international signings of my own in 2012. Before that I just signed the same international players that the real Twins signed, meaning that I did get to keep Miguel Sano since he signed before I started doing this.
The ground rules I have established for international Shadow signings are simple:
A) The Shadow Twins get the same bonus pool amount as the real Twins. For 2015 this was $3,948,500.
B) If I want to go over that pool amount, the Shadow Twins would be subject to the same penalty as a real team: That means that I can go up to five percent over without any trouble but anything past five percent would limit my ability to sign players in subsequent years.
C) If I want to sign a player who signed with a different team in real life, the Shadow Twins bonus must exceed the real life team bonus by 10%. That means if I want someone who signed with the Cardinals for $1,000,000, I have to spend $1,100,000 to get him. However, if I sign a player that the real Twins signed, then the money is the same as in real life since I wouldn't be bidding against myself.
D) Once a player has taken the field in professional baseball, I can't sign him retrospectively.This has to be done without any pro evidence.
E) My self-imposed deadline for finalizing the list each year is April 15th.
Here are my first three classes:
2012 Top International Signings
1) Frandy DelaRosa, SS, Dominican Republic (Cubs) $770,000
2) Lewis Thorpe, LHP, Australia (Twins) $500,000
3) Argenis Silva, RHP, Venezuela (Twins) $375,000
4) Starling Ynfante, RHP, Dominican Republic (Padres) $220,000
5) Chih-Wei Hu, RHP, Taiwan (Twins) $220,000
6) Crusito Mieses, RHP, Dominican Republic (Angels) $200,000
7) Rainis Silva, C, Venezuela (Twins) $175,000
8) Henry Alvarado, OF, Dominican Republic (Cardinals) $170,000
9) Johan Quezada, RHP, Dominican Republic (Twins) $150,000
10) Antonio Tovar, OF, Venezuela (Twins) $100,000
11) Jorge Parra, OF, Venezuela (Twins) $45,000
Basically I signed DelaRosa, Ynfante, Mieses, Alvarado (1.36 mil) instead of Amaurys Minier (1.4 mil).
2013 Top International Signings
1) Joan Mauricio, SS, Dominican Republic (Astros) $660,000
2) Carlos Talavera, OF, Venezuela (Cardinals) $550,000
3) Jaimito Lebron, RHP, Dominican Republic (Padres) $460,000
4) Isael Soto, OF, Dominican Republic (Marlins) $340,000
5) , RHP, Venezuela (Twins) $340,000
6) Robert Molina, C, Venezuela (Twins) $300,000
7) Jack Barrie, 1B, Australia (Twins) $250,000
8) Erick Balbuena, RHP, Dominican Republic (Twins) $175,000
9) Moises Gomez, RHP, Venezuela (Twins) $150,000
10) Edgar Herrera, OF, Venezuela (Twins) $135,000
11) Orby Tavares, LHP, Dominican Republic (Yankees) $100,000
12) Ruar Verkerk, 3B, Netherlands (Twins) unknown
I did not sign Lewin Diaz and Romi Tapia, the two big names from the real Twins class.
For 2014, it looked like this:
2014 Top International Signings (pool) 3,686,000 (spent) 3,800,000
1) Franklin Perez, RHP, Venezuela (Astros) 1,100,000
2) , OF, Dominican Republic (Rays) 440,000
3) Lenin Rodriguez, C, Venezuela (Phillies) 330,000
4) Lachlan Wells, LHP, Australia (Twins) 300,000
5) Jeifry Nunez, RHP, Dominican Republic (Rangers) 275,000
6) Emilio Ferrebus, RHP, Venezuela (Cubs) 275,000
7) Edwin Yon, OF, Dominican Republic (Reds) 185,000
8) Samuel Castro, SS, Dominican Republic (Marlins) 165,000
9) Daniel Guzman, LHP, Venezuela (Mets) 155,000
10) Edgar Pineda, SS, Venezuela (Rangers) 150,000
11) Sandro Cabrera, RHP, Dominican Republic (Giants) 150,000
12) Danny Contreras, OF, Domnican Republic (Mariners)110,000
13) Orlando Cedeno, RHP, Dominican Republic (Indians)110,000
14) Leonardo Crawford, LHP, Nicaragua (Dodgers) 55,000
This means that the Shadow Twins did not sign real Twin Huascar Ynoa and a bunch of other guys. The real universe and the Shadow universe will continue to diverge.
With $3,686,000 pool money, I could spend up to $3,866,000 (bonus pool plus 4.9%) without incurring a signing limitation penalty for 2015. Going up to $3,800,000 as I did with this group gives me an overage of $114,000. That would cost me an additional $114,000 in taxes (chump change) to the commissioner's office but keeps me away from the more important penalty of losing player investment power in 2015.
For 2015, I had an original pool of $3,948,500 to work with. However, in real life the Texas Rangers traded minor league pitcher Jason Hoppe to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for $879,500 worth of international bonus slots. This is important because I drafted Hoppe in the 27th round of the 2014 Shadow Draft, so I had him in my Shadow Twins farm system.
Not any more though: Paralleling real life, I traded Hoppe to the Angels for that $879,500, giving me more international spending power. This gave me a total of $4,828,000 to work with.
Here's what I did with it. The real Twins spent their entire pool allotment on Dominican shortstop Wander Javier. I like him, but not $4,000,000 worth. I spread the money out instead, picking up three of my favorite bats in the international group, three projectable pitchers, and a good defensive catcher.
1) Juan Soto, OF, Dominican Republic (Nationals) $1,650,000 ($1,500,000 in real life)
2) Gregory Guerrero, SS, Dominican Republic (Mets) $1,650,000 ($1,500,000 in real life)
3) , Jr., SS, Dominican Republc (Wsox) $770,000 ($700,000 in real life)
4) Luis Oviedo, RHP, Venezuela (Indians) $412,500 ($375,000 in real life)
5) Carlos De La Cruz, RHP, Dominican Republic (Diamondbacks) $165,000 ($150,000 in real life)
6) Daniel Santos, C, Dominican Republic (Mariners) $110,000 ($100,000 in real life)
7) Manuel Silva, LHP, Dominican Republic (Phillies), $110,000 ($100,000 in real life)
Total Spent: $4,867,500. This is slightly over my limit of $4,828,000 but not enough to trigger limitations for 2016.
As for 2016, the real Twins have $2,399,100 to work with so that's what I get too. However, this year I intend to bust the pool limit, which will trigger penalties for 2017 but will be a lot of fun.