For scouting aficianados, today is a very important day — the first day that teams are allowed to sign international players not subject to the draft. We’re talking primarily about players from Latin American (dominated annually by the Dominican Republic and Venezuela), but Japanese amateurs have been signed in recent years, as well. This is the route by which the Mariners landed Felix Hernandez , Jose Lopez , and Carlos Triunfel, among others; there will no doubt be some future superstars signed by teams during this international signing period. Bob Engle, their international scouting director, is regarded as one of the best in the business.
According to Baseball America, the Mariners are expected to sign Dominican outfielder Guillermo Pimentel and are the favorite for 6-foot-4 Venezuelan outfielder Alexis Parma. For a scouting report on Pimentel, read this Baseball America story, which ranks him the No. 4 prospect, one that will command a $2 million bonus from the Mariners.
Here’s some video of Pimentel (or at least it’s supposed to be Pimentel; I’ll take their word for it).