Inspired by BTKantz's solid retrospectives on past amateur drafts, I thought I'd look back at some of the hits and misses of past International Free Agent signings.
At best, you might get a better idea of which ratings translate into productive major leaguers. At worst, you'll still be able to laugh and point at the suckers who forked over big cash for crap players who never even sniffed the big leagues. (Translation: A certain idiot owner's $2.5M love affair with middling 2B Napoleon Hennessey)
Wilfredo Sanchez, New York Burros 2B. $8.4M
Analysis: The season one signing inspired a bidding war, and since it came before WIS implemented the budget transfer feature, it ultimately cost the Burros the chance to sign their first-round pick in the amateur draft. Still, Sanchez proved his worth, peaking with a 30 HR, 120 RBI season in year five.
Edgardo Martinez, Oklahoma City Outlaws C
Analysis: It's probably not fair to call Martinez a total bust, since he's still playing and certainly has the ratings to be a major leaguer. Still, I can't think of too many owners who would be happy to fork out $7.4M for 0 major league ABs in eight seasons.
Ivan James, Arizona Mustangs P: $4.0M
Analysis: If we're not counting Martinez, there's no question about this one. James was about as big a bust as you're going to find. During season one, most owners still weren't completely sure about the relative importance of certain ratings. James represented an expensive lesson about the significance of splits that didn't top out in the mid-20s. He put up an 11-36 record and 9.93 ERA over six seasons, never getting out of High A. He was the seventh-most expensive IFA in season one. Five of them have played at least one full season in the majors. Martinez is pretty close. James never even approached it.
Least-Expensive Player Still Active In The Majors
Marino Oliva, Tucson Toros 3B: $1.2M
Analysis: It took a while, but Oliva turned out to be a decent player. He put up 28 HR in his only season of full-time major league action and a career minor league OPS of .975 is nothing to turn your nose up at.
Tomas Mateo ($765K) saw major league action with Philadelphia earlier this season but is in AAA right now.
Least-Expensive Player Still Active At Any Level
Paul Gang, Durham Bulls 1B: $280K
Analysis: 334 games, all with the same organization. Only 28 games in AAA.
Only three of the 37 least-expensive signings are on active rosters this year.