Over at Baseball America, Ben Badler takes an interesting look at the international signing and development success of the various MLB organizations. Specifically, the question is how many of an organization’s top 30 prospects (according to BA) were signed as an international amateur free agent.
To be sure, that’s not a perfect method for evaluating how strong an organization’s signing and development on the international front has been – a prospect ranked at the top “counts” just as much as a prospect in the 25 to 30 range – but it does give you a general idea where an organization’s prospects are coming from.
For the Cubs, just 8 of their top 30 prospects were signed as international free agents, which puts them right in the middle of the pack. You shouldn’t be surprised by the teams at the top: Rangers (18), Twins (15), Red Sox (14), and Blue Jays (13) have all been prolific in the international market for years.
In other words, in a few more years, I’d be shocked if the Cubs didn’t have a higher percentage of top prospects coming from the IFA ranks. Heck, just think about the huge haul of international prospects the Cubs have signed this year alone: from Eddy Julio Martinez to Kwang-min Kwon to the big group on July 2. And there are still plenty of interesting Cuban prospects available.
The BA article has a ton of interesting information on the international market, generally, and the organizations at the top. Give it a look.