Figuring Out J2 Signing Period
Here’s my extensive list of what to do about all the talent that signs with various teams starting July 2nd every year:
Yeah. Nothing. It’s awfully tempting to get excited about these guys, especially if you’re a Cubs fan, as they’ve signed or are going to sign the top two talents (per Baseball America): Eloy Jimenez and Gleyber Torres.
Beyond the difficulty of figuring out how to pronounce these names, there’s the difficulty of figuring out what they’re going to be. These are 16-year old baseball players who have mostly shown off their skills in the world of showcases. The upside to showcases is that scouts and teams can see elite talent versus elite talent. The downside is, they’re not really baseball games, meaning it can be hard to grasp if a player has or lacks baseball instincts.
There are certainly reasons to get excited about the J2 signees. They turn into guys like Miguel Cabrera and Miguel Sano and surely (though I’m not entirely certain) other people not named Miguel. That said, they more often turn into guys that I won’t and can’t list because we haven’t heard from them since. The international signing period is by no means a crapshoot. The scouts who sit on these guys are some of the best and they really know their stuff. That said, projecting 16-year old bodies, minds and work ethics leaves a lot of room for being wrong.
The reason to do nothing about them as fantasy owners is that, given their youth and the relative rawness of their games, the amount of time that they take to yield positive results just isn’t worth your investment. Even best case scenario guys like Julio Teheran (3 years to big leagues) take close to the amount of time you’d expect a top tier high school talent to take. Given the same investment from a fantasy owner’s end (draft pick/roster spot), it doesn’t make sense to buy in right away. In my mind it’s more worthwhile to let them develop on someone else’s dime (draft pick/roster spot) and trade for them a little later on.
I say all this as someone who was and am very excited by the likes of high $$ signees like Jairo Beras and Nomar Mazara. At the same time, we all often miss on guys like Julio Urias who sign for significantly less money and turn out to develop more quickly, or adapt to the states better or…really any number of things. The point is, with so much unkown, it’s best to hold out for more information and even overpay a bit for guys you know more about later on. You will probably be able to afford to overpay using the same guys you drafted instead of these tooled up youngsters because you’ll be “missing” less often.