The Milwaukee Brewers began the 2016 season with baseball's lowest Opening Day payroll according to BusinessInsider.com at $62.4 mil. This is over a $40 mil drop from last year's $104 mil Opening Day payroll and a marked drop from the last few seasons under owner Mark Attanasio.
Mark A. has alluded to banking some of the savings for the future when the Brewers are expected to be competing. A more tangible way to see this money being re-invested, however, is through increased spending on amateur talent. Earlier this year it was reported that the Brewers were planning on spending heavily on during this year's international signing period that begins on July 2nd.
With the season now a month old and summer quickly approaching, more reports have begun to creep out regarding specific players on the international free agent market. Yesterday Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com released his top 30 International Prospect rankings and reported that the Brewers are expected to sign two of the top players available (with their tool grades and scouting reports according to MLB Pipeline):
OF Pablo Abreu || Age: 16 || Dominican Republic || B/T: R/R
|Hit: 50||Power: 40||Run: 50||Arm: 50||Field: 60|
Abreu has the right combination of tools to make a solid package. He's not known for his raw power, but he's an aggressive hitter with a knack for making contact in games and driving the ball into the gaps. He has shown the ability to turn on pitches and there's the belief that he will develop more power with maturity.On defense, Abreu has a solid arm and the defensive actions to stay in center field. That said, he's versatile enough to change positions if needed and there's a thought that he ends up as a corner outfielder.
Abreu showed off his skills at the MLB International Prospect Showcase in February, racking up a pair of hits and scoring a run in three games. He also displayed plate discipline with a pair of walks. The Brewers are the favorite to sign Abreu. He played in the International Prospect League and is trained by Amauris Nina.
Here's some video on Abreu:
3B Jean Carlos Carmona || Age: 16 || Dominican Republic || B/T: S/R
|Hit: 60||Power: 50||Run: 60||Arm: 50||Field: 50|
Carmona is a switch-hitter who has shown a consistent approach and displayed power from both sides of the plate. Scouts like his strong athletic body and project him to fill out even more as he matures. What's more, he's viewed as a plus runner and has the potential to be a base stealer with proper instruction.
Carmona has the arm strength to stay in the middle of the infield and has been praised for his good hands. However, there is a belief that he could move to center field in the future because he might not have the natural defensive actions and body control to be a Major League shortstop down the road. Carmona is trained by Angel Gonzalez and played in the International Prospect League in the Dominican Republic. The Brewers are expected to sign him.
And some video on Carmona:
There hasn't been any word yet on how large of a bonus either of these two players will command. The Brewers have the fifth-largest bonus pool allotment in the league for the upcoming signing period at $4,098,500 according to Baseball America. The Brewers can exceed that amount by up to 5% before they start incurring penalties beyond a simple tax on any overages. Again, the international signing period begins annually every July 2nd.