With the 2024 International Signing Period opening this morning, the Twins reportedly came to agreements with two of the top 50 prospects in this class.
The headliner is Dominican shortstop Daiber De Los Santos, ranked as the eighth-best international prospect by MLB Pipeline. According to Jesse Borek and Jesus Cano of MLB.com, De Los Santos has the best raw tools of this class with the athleticism and ability to stick at shortstop as his frame builds out. With fast hands and developing power, he could find himself on top prospect lists in a few years if his development continues on the current trajectory.
The Twins also agreed with Dominican outfielder Eduardo Beltre, the 39th-ranked player in this class by MLB Pipeline. Where De Los Santos’ value seemingly comes on the defensive side, Beltre is considered a better offensive prospect with good power and the ability to drive the ball to all fields. He currently plays centerfield, but may end up moving to a corner if he loses speed as he bulks up.
The international amateur signing process follows a similar path as the MLB Draft, with teams being assigned bonus pools by MLB dependent on several factors. There are three main groups teams fit into:
- Teams that received a Competitive Balance Pick round B of the 2023 MLB Draft ($7,114,800 base signing pool)
- Teams that received a Competitive Balance Pick round A of the 2023 MLB Draft ($6.52 million base signing pool) — this is the Twins’ group
- Everyone else ($5.284 million base signing pool)
Individual teams’ pools are then adjusted down if they signed a player in the previous offseason who rejected a qualifying offer. Teams forfeit either $500,000 or $1 million depending on the size of the contract the QO player signed. Those forfeitures are then divided up among the remaining teams to increase their overall bonus pools. Also, unlike the MLB Draft, international bonus pool money can be traded.
Fangraphs projects De Los Santos’ bonus to be $1.9 million and Beltre’s at $1.5 million, leaving the Twins with just under half of their international bonus pool for other players. Most of the top prospects will sign today, but teams can spend the money on any eligible players until December 15, 2024.
Since the players signing today are largely 16 and 17 years old, don’t expect them to appear on any top prospect lists immediately. Players this young will typically train for a year or two before they even appear in affiliated games. There are always exceptions (such as consensus top-five prospect Ethan Salas, a 17-year-old catcher in the Padres’ system), but making the transition to professional baseball that young is a rare feat.