RFB Update: The International Free Agent Period
Over the winter, team ROTOscouting took over a team in Tory Hernandez’ Reality Fantasy Baseball league. A start up company, he’s working to replicate Major League Baseball as a fantasy baseball league. Having written at FanGraphs, a site considered to be full of smart guys, the ins and outs of Reality Fantasy Baseball have taught me how much I still have to learn. The international free agent period was no exception.
In this league, the IFA period was slightly different than MLB out of necessity. Players eligible in this draft were 2013 international signings from countries other than Japan and Cuba, along with any unsigned international player who has yet to play a full season in the United States. This meant Twins Lewis Thorpe and Rockies Raimel Tapia were eligible to be taken in this draft.
Speaking of Tapia, he signed for an astonishing $4,420,000 considering teams are awarded 10-million each off-season for both the international free agent period AND amateur draft. Teams are able to earn bonuses for in-season performance and excess money from previous years carries over, but Tapia received a king’s ransom no matter how much money the team had.
Lewis Thorpe was the other top-100 prospect available in the international free agent period. The same owner who signed Tapia also signed Thorpe for $3,102,000. Once again, it’s big money for the top-100 arm.
Other big money signings from the IFA period included;
2014 RFB IFA
Player Name Signing Bonus Team Position Eloy Jimenez $3,200,000 Chicago Cubs OF Franchy Cordero $3,000,000 San Diego Padres SS Micker Zapata $2,900,000 Chicago White Sox OF Gleyber Torres $2,800,000 Chicago Cubs SS Marcos Diplan $2,750,000 Texas Rangers RHP Jose Herrera $2,350,000 Arizona Diamondbacks C Lewin Diaz $2,000,000 Minnesota Twins 1B Luis Encarnacion $2,000,000 Philadelphia Phillies 3B
As for team ROTOscouting, we chose to take a different approach — A combination of quantity and quality over one big signing. Earlier in the off-season, we dealt five of our best prospects for Pirates Andrew McCutchen. Additionally, 40-man roster protections and releasing players who weren’t up to snuff resulted in our having more than 20 open spots on the 80-man roster. The plan was to use the international free agent period to sign a number of players on the cheap. Mission accomplished!
In all, 19 players were signed for exactly $3,000,000, half of what we expected to spend going in. A strategy which worked well for us was to wait for other owners to spend its resources and flood the market late with big money signings. The net result was a staggering 13 players signed for $1,000 each.
Player Name MLB Signing Bonus RFB Signing Bonus Team Name Position Leonardo Molina $1,400,000 $1,800,000 New York Yankees OF Carlos Herrera $1,200,000 $326,500 Colorado Rockies SS Greifer Andrade $1,050,000 $100,000 Seattle Mariners OF Jefferson Mejia $850,000 $326,500 Chicago Cubs RHP Willi Castro $800,000 $1,000 Cleveland Indians SS Erick Julio $700,000 $160,000 Colorado Rockies RHP Kelvin Beltre $650,000 $1,000 San Francisco Giants SS Luis Barrios $600,000? $225,000 Atlanta Braves LHP Mikey Edie $600,000? $50,000 San Francisco Giants OF Joan Mauricio $600,000 $1,000 Houston Astros SS Junior Soto $600,000 $1,000 Cleveland Indians OF Rudy Giron $600,000 $1,000 San Diego Padres SS Yonauris Rodriguez $600,000 $1,000 New York Yankees SS Freddy Rodriguez $500,000 $1,000 Toronto Blue Jays OF Yeffry DeAza $475,000 $1,000 New York Mets INF Jamito Lebron $410,000 $1,000 San Diego Padres RHP Hector Martinez $400,000 $1,000 Detroit Tigers SS Onil Pena $385,000 $1,000 Seattle Mariners C Frank Gil $350,000 $1,000 Atlanta Braves RHP Totals $12,975,000 $3,000,000
The international free agent period is a crap shoot with a high failure rate. The beauty of so many $1,000 dandy’s is we can churn and burn those roster spots as needed. Plus, a deep class allows us to leverage one, or many of them as trade assets. In Reality Fantasy Baseball, our bids were made because the bid price was right compared to what the player actually signed for. In essence, the targets found us. The only player we coveted was Yankees Leonardo Molina after reviewing video and learning he was the best five tool talent available.
Takeaways From The International Free Agent Period
while Reality Fantasy Baseball is unique in its efforts to replicate MLB, players who received bonuses in the two-million dollar plus range are relevant in deep keeper and dynasty league formats. Is there a prospect in all of baseball with more helium than Raimel Tapia right now? His bonus makes the Rockies outfielder a must scout prospect for me in 2014.
Franchy Cordero is a prospect I new little about entering the international free agent period, but he and Thorpe receiving three-plus million dollar signing bonuses means the Midwest League will boast two IFA’s with star level ceilings. Bob Usselman better take note!
And from the 2013 class, big power earned the biggest bonuses, while all-around tool sets slipped. Instead of scooping Eloy Jimenez too early in the next dynasty or keeper league draft, would it make sense to wait a few round and snag Leonardo Molina and/or Mikey Edie, two five tool center field prospects?
Now that the Amateur draft is drawing to a close, being aggressive in the international free agent period was the best decision we’ve made since taking over the team last winter. in Reality Fantasy Baseball, it’s the best way to stock the farm in the hope a few signings end up becoming quality Major Leaguers.
25 Mar 2014 / Mike Newman /
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