The shifting of the international signing period from summer to winter has upended the baseball calendar. But it also allows for the 2021-2022 period that starts in 2022. January 15 is the start date for the next class, moved from the usual July 2 start date for the last two signing periods.
With this new international bonanza set to start next week, the Dodgers are linked to one top-50 international prospect, ranked by Ben Badler at Baseball America in order of expected signing bonuses. Samuel Muñoz out of the Dominican Republic is ranked the No. 42 prospect in this period.
Muñoz is ranked the No. 7 international prospect per MLB.com.
“Muñoz is a left-hand-hitting infielder with an advanced approach at the plate and tons of power projection,” Jesse Sanchez said in an MLB.com scouting video. “He already shows an above-average ability to barrel up the baseball to all fields, and the thought is that this ability will translate to home runs in the future as he fills out his large and developing frame.”
A 6’2 left-handed batter, the 17-year-old Muñoz was listed by Baseball America as a third baseman and outfielder. Sanchez said the video above is old footage, when Muñoz used to hit right-handed.
“Muñoz showcased for teams as an outfielder and eventually developed into an above-average runner, but most recently he has been playing third base and is expected to start his career as an infielder,” Badler wrote.
International signing bonus pools became hard-capped in the 2017-21 collective bargaining agreement, as a way to prevent teams from simply paying a 100-percent tax on overages. The Dodgers in the 2015-16 international signing period spent over $92 million when counting bonuses and taxes, for instance.
This year, the base bonus pools range from $5.2 million to $6.3 million for teams, with the Dodgers among the teams with the former, smallest pool, per Sanchez. The Dodgers’ signing of Trevor Bauer also came with a penalty of $500,000 removed from the international bonus pool, leaving them at $4,644,000, per Badler.
The 2021-22 international signing period runs through December 15.
Last year’s Dodgers bonus pool was $5,348,100, and among the players signed by the team were shortstop Wilman Diaz and catcher Jesus Galiz.