Blue Jays: Analyzing the top international players within the farm system

TORONTO,CANADA - APRIL 1: Fans display their tickets prior to the home opener for the Toronto Blue Jays as they face the Minnesota Twins during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre April 1, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
TORONTO,CANADA - APRIL 1: Fans display their tickets prior to the home opener for the Toronto Blue Jays as they face the Minnesota Twins during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre April 1, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.(Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Blue Jays boast a strong farm system, even with the promotion last  season of some of the organizations top prospects during the 2019 season.

As it stands, the Toronto Blue Jays currently have two prospects who rank within the top 100 prospects list per MLB.com. Nate Pearson and Jordan Groshans sit 10th and 67th respectively, with both players being acquired through the annual amateur draft.

While these two players did not come through international free agency, the Blue Jays have been very active in this market and have had success through this method of free agency.

For example, former top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was acquired through this method, as well as infielder/outfielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr., both of whom will be key parts of the rebuilding core over the next few years.

International free agency is a bit different than the amateur draft in terms of eligibility and contract status. Each team is given a $4.75 million dollars every year in which they can use to spend on players, and then acquiring more money based on their market (competitive balance) and through trades, where teams can freely trade this ‘pooled’ money throughout the season.

The international signing period begins July 2, and runs until June 15 the following year (roughly 11 and a half months). International players are deemed eligible for free agency if they are 16 years old prior to September 1st (of signing year) and reside outside of the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, as well as not having been enrolled in any of these countries in terms of schooling/education.

It gets more complicated when it comes to players who play oversees in Japan and South Korea, as the Nippon Professional Baseball, along with the Korean Baseball Organization, have an exclusive agreement with the MLB. You can learn more information about the agreement here.

Long story short, like many other teams in the MLB, the Toronto Blue Jays utilize this free agent period to bolster their farm system. With the likes of Bo Bichette, Guerrero Jr., and now Nate Pearson dominating the prospect headlines, one must not forget what lies behind these prospects, and how they too can become possible impact players in the rebuild moving forward.

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