Last year, Yankees fans were anxiously awaiting the opening of the annual July 2nd international signing period, and the official word that top prospect Jasson Dominguez was joining the organization. Almost a year later Dominguez, who likely would have made his professional debut yesterday with the Pulaski Yankees, is on the sideline with the rest of the minor leagues, and the July 2nd signing period has been postponed.
The next signing period will not open until January 15th, 2021. The Yankees will face a limited signing pool this year and operate with the second-lowest amount in baseball. The organization forfeited $1 million of their bonus pool due to the signing of Gerrit Cole after he declined a qualifying offer from Houston.
Following the penalty, the Yankees will be limited to just a $4,232,700 bonus pool, almost a million dollars less than the bonus they gave Dominguez last summer. A new wrinkle has emerged, as thanks to COVID-19, teams will not be able able to trade for extra bonus pool money as they have in years past. With these limitations, the Yankees will look to spread their bonus pool around and have been linked to a trio of talented players at this point in the process.
After taking a catcher in the first round of the MLB draft, the Yankees are doubling down on the position by targeting Jesus Galiz — the seventh-best international prospect this coming signing period, and top catching prospect according to MLB Pipeline’s international free agent rankings. Galiz was initially scouted as a shortstop coming up, but has impressed scouts with his ability to adapt to the position and is already considered one of the better defensive catchers despite only playing the position for a short time.
In addition to his defense, Galiz is considered to have an advanced bat for his age. He has modeled his approach after Gleyber Torres, and could have plus power in the future.
Dominican shortstop Hans Montero would give the Yankees another promising talent up the middle. Montero has above average speed and a strong arm. He is projected to be a good shortstop who will remain at the position even as he grows into his body.
The Yankees are also linked to Dominican outfielder Fidel Montero. Ben Badler of Baseball America writes that Montero has “… impressive raw tools who shows up-and-down game performance.”
It is important to note that many potential agreements were reached when teams had an understanding that they would be able to trade for more bonus pool money. Reports have already come out that some teams have begun to back out on or reduce the signing bonus agreements made earlier in the process with prospects. This could lead to more players being made available, and the Yankees having to adjust their approach.
There are also several players looking to join this class, including talented Cuban outfielder, Oscar Colas who has been playing in Japan for several years after defecting from Cuba. He is likely out of the Yankees’ price range this coming signing period, but other talented players are also likely to be added to the ranks.
The Yankees will not be going “all in” on their international free agent class like they did with Jasson Dominguez last season. This year, the Yankees will face significant limitations as they start with a small bonus pool, and have lost the ability to trade for more money. Despite that, the team appears to have lined up a solid group of young players who have the potential to improve the Yankees’ system down the road.