Baseball America

Baseball America

July 2020

Baseball America has been bringing you the best baseball information in the game for more than 30 years, a must-have resource for fans as well as people who work in the game. Every issue features coverage of the majors, minors, college and high school baseball as well as prospects, prospects and more prospects. Whether you’re looking to win your fantasy league or stay on top of the game at all levels, Baseball America puts it all in your hands.

United States
Baseball America Enterprises, LLC.
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26 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
baseball’s long road back

The world is different now. In the three months since the coronavirus pandemic hit, so many things have changed. Social distancing became an important concept, and as information from health officials rapidly changed, something as simple as going to the grocery store became a potentially life-altering decision. We began working from home, home-schooling our children and experiencing a world without sports for the first time in our lives. Just as many things changed after 9/11, we may never go back to “normal,” even when the coronavirus is gone and we have a vaccine and proven treatments for the virus. But my guess is we will appreciate many of the things we took for granted before, like sports. I know I will. Sports are slowly coming back and it feels wonderful to be…

3 min.
new-look hall

In 2019, former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera became the first unanimous selection in the history of the Hall of Fame. On that same ballot, long-time Mariners DH Edgar Martinez also was elected in what was his 10th and final appearance on the Baseball Writers Association of America ballot. No big deal, right? Well, Rivera and Martinez became the fifth and sixth Latin American players to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the 2010s. Prior to those inductions, there had been just five Latin American big leaguers enshrined in Cooperstown. While Major League Baseball allowed so-called light-skinned Latin players, primarily from Cuba, long before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, what is often overlooked is the impact of Latin players in the big leagues was minimal until recent years. Puerto Rican…

1 min.
on the horizon

2021 Holdovers from the 2020 ballot include Venezuelan SS Omar Vizquel (52.6 percent in third year of eligibility), Dominican OF Manny Ramirez (28.2 percent, fourth), Dominican OF Sammy Sosa (13.9 percent, eighth) and Venezuelan OF Bobby Abreu (5.5 percent, first). After crossing the 50 percent threshold, 11-time Gold Glover Vizquel is well positioned to be elected—eventually. Cubs ownership has buried Sosa, hurting his Hall chances. Top first-time candidates: Dominican 3B Aramis Ramirez and Puerto Rican OF Alex Rios. 2022 Top first-timer: Dominican DH David Ortiz. It will be interesting to see voters’ reaction to Ortiz, who like Sosa was linked in media reports to performance-enhancing drugs. 2023 Top first-timers: Puerto Rican OF Carlos Beltran, Dominican SS Jhonny Peralta and Venezuelan closer Francisco Rodriguez. Beltran has the résumé to be a serious candidate, including nine all-star nods, a reputation as…

5 min.
international harvesters

While international players have a long, rich history in the major leagues, their prominence has never been greater. A total of 251 players born outside the United States were on Opening Day rosters or injured lists in 2019, the third-highest total since Major League Baseball began releasing such data in 1995. The two highest totals came in 2017 (259) and 2018 (254). The rise of so many international players has led to increased awareness of and attention to the international signing period, which begins annually on July 2. Instituted shortly after the entry method for players from Puerto Rico was changed from free agency to the draft in 1989, the July 2 calendar introduced a formal period of signing eligibility to what had previously been a largely unregulated international market. Just as certain…

4 min.
international age

The significance and visibility of the international signing period increases each year as young players from Latin America burst onto the major league scene. The 2015 international signing class underscored this point by making headlines in 2019. World Series champion Juan Soto, American League Rookie of the Year Yordan Alvarez and preseason No. 1 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. all signed in 2015. So too did Fernando Tatis Jr., who finished third in National League Rookie of the Year voting—and might have won the award if his season hadn’t ended in August with a back injury. Time will tell if the robust 2015 signing class will be viewed as an outlier or turning point in fans’ perception of the international signing period, which traditionally opens on July 2 but may be pushed back…

2 min.
worth the wait

July 2 is usually a big celebration date for 16-year-old players in Latin America. Not this year. Major League Baseball informed teams in June that the 2020-21 international signing period, scheduled to open on July 2, will now be delayed to until Jan. 15, 2021. MLB had the ability to move the start date back after reaching an agreement with the MLB Players Association in March. The players themselves who are eligible to sign—anyone who turns 16 before Sept. 1 this year—are still the same, but they will need to wait another six and a half months to sign. So the start date is delayed, but the reality is that we don’t have to wait until January 2021 to let you know who the big names for the next signing period are or what…