Prospect TalkUncategorized

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.


You can follow me on Twitter at @cdgoldstein
You can read my other work at Fake Teams and MLB Draft Insider

The Author

Craig Goldstein

Craig Goldstein


  1. Tony Nelson
    July 8, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    While most prospects don’t pan out and I agree you shouldn’t use a roster spot on any of the 2013 signees yet, some of them can turn into fun prospects to watch. For example, Baseball America’s 2011 Top International Targets list includes quite a few familiar names in the top 15, including Ronald Guzman, Victor Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, Wilmer Becerra, Nomar Mazara, Adalberto Mondesi, and Dorssys Paulino.

    Full list:

    • Craig Goldstein
      July 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      Agreed, there’s a great deal of interesting names involved in the J2 signing period. But none of those guys are above Lo-A, and most J2 guys are in rookie ball and below. Few of those guys are actually doing well (I think Mondesi and Guzman are only ones, and Mondesi is on a bigger curve than most). And that’s 2 years after signing. I’m not saying don’t invest, I’m saying don’t invest the season after they’re signed, because there’s a more efficient use of the roster spot. Let someone else do the “developing” for you and go get them a year or two later.

      • Tony Nelson
        July 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm

        I’m thinking 2011 was a better year for international prospects than most years, especially when compared to 2010:

      • July 8, 2013 at 2:35 pm

        Good point Tony. The relative strength of each class is a huge factor (as with drafts). Last year wasn’t particularly strong, despite the rise of Julio Urias. This year doesn’t appear to be crazy either, but there are some interesting talents.

      • Roger
        July 29, 2013 at 11:05 am

        Hey there Craig, solid read, i am currently debating what to make of the prospect draft of my 20 team roto dynasty league, about 300+ players are owned, i have a bunch of 3rd, 4th and 5th round picks, with most of the top prospects, would you consider investing in some of the guys you mentioned above? I was thinking guys like eloy, devers, dazmon cameron, ryan bold, maybe stay ahead of the league by a year or two? any suggestions to deep…talking ocean deep prospects, thanks in advance

      • Craig Goldstein
        July 29, 2013 at 11:26 am

        Thanks Roger

        I think when you’re talking that deep, it’s obviously enticing, though I’d still try to find other types of players. Especially since it appears there are no limits to the types of guys drafted, there should be some minor league types of interest floating around. I am in a 20-team dynasty with 15 man minors so there are 300 players owned (or thereabout) and that was the direction I was coming from while writing this paper. I suppose in the 4th or 5th round of such a draft, someone like Eloy or Dazmon might make some sense, though I tend to the think amount of time to payoff and the risk involved would have me lean towards guys within 4 years of the big leagues. If you like risk, sure, those are some names (and since HSers are eligible I’d include names like Nick Gordon and Jacob Gatewood) but it’s my position that I’d rather work with more known quantities.

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