The international signing period was supposed to have started, as always, last July. But due to the pandemic, it was switched to January 15, a few days ago.
So far, twenty-eight of the top thirty international prospects have signed. None with the Rangers.
This is where the Rangers, and particularly Jon Daniels, always had the reputation of being strong, their presence in the Dominican and other Caribbean and Latin American countries.
Before he retired, T.R. Sullivan took a look at the Rangers all time top five international signings. The top two are amazing. The other three, not so much. Maybe the reputation isn’t as well deserved.
In fact, Daniels wasn’t responsible for the best ones.
1 Juan Gonzalez. Part of Tom Grieve’s overhaul of the Rangers system was his commitment to international talent, and hiring ex-Padres scout Sandy Johnson to find it. He did. And the next guy as well.
2. Pudge Rodriguez. The story goes, one of Johnson’s scouts wanted Luis Benitez and Pablo Delgado over Rodriguez. Johnson insisted on Pudge, going as far as saying they wouldn’t sign anyone of they didn’t sign Rodriguez first.
3. Ruben Mateo. The poster boy for Rangers disappointment. He was supposed to be it all. Speed, power, average, defense, arm. He was so valued, then-Rockies manager Jim Leland asked then-Rangers manager Johnny Oates what it would take to get Mateo. Anything was fair game. Then, in typical snakebite Rangers fashion, Mateo broke a femur in his rookie year and was never the same player again.
4. Jurickson Profar. A Jon Daniels find, he was going to be it. The number one prospect in baseball for two years in a row was coveted by a lot of teams. But Daniels refused to trade him. Profar hit a home run in his first at-bat, got badly injured, missed two seasons because of it, and never amounted to much.
5. Nomar Mazara. Another Daniels pick, Mazara broke a record when he signed for $4.9 million. He was going to be, along with Ronald Guzman, the new Bash Brothers. But he never was able to find that next level. Never able to find consistent contact. He was traded away to the White Sox, had one really bad year with them, then was released and is currently unsigned.