We'll be looking at the Top 10 International Free Agents from Season 33 based on dollars spent. Where are they now and what have they done so far? Were the big bucks worth it? We'll also be highlighting a player who was a value pick.
10. Francicso Estrada DH/C, Fresno Falcons, 7.5 M. Traded to Burlington in Season 34. Did well in the minors with 2 All Star appearances, a Silver Slugger, and the HiA MVP in Season 35. Was part of Burlington's World Series team last season, but had a shaky start in the majors, hitting .222 in 72 AB. Was recently demoted to AAA.
9. Geovany Machi 2B, Scranton Rail Riders, 7.5 M. He's moved around a bit in a short time. He's won two SS and made an All Star appearance in the minors. Was a Rule 5 selection by Detroit in season 37. Only hit .233 in 49 games last season, but was a perfect 10-0 in stolen base attempts. Recently traded to Toledo and is now in AAA. Still has the long term potential to be a solid role player and quality base stealer.
8. Fernando Cruz 3B, Cincinnati Big Red Machine, 10.3 M. In Season 35 was a AA All Star, All Star MVP and Silver Slugger. Only hitting .215 in two ML seasons, but has produced 47 homers. At age 23, his best seasons are still ahead.
7. Paul Ishikawa P, Boise Shock, 10.5 M. Ishikawa wins the Deja Vu Award. Was traded by LA to Santa Fe in Season 34, then was traded back to LA in Season 37 as part of the deal that sent Cecil Clark and Rich Wright to Santa Fe. He had a great rookie season, going 16-7 with a 1.19 WHIP and 3.74 ERA.
6. Vinny Wanatabe P, Cleveland Clumsy Pelicans, 12.8 M. Quietly developing into a very good pitcher for Charlotte. In 2 seasons, he's gone 15-10 with a 1.29 WHIP and 3.82 ERA.
5. Kosuke Sakamato P, Cleveland Clumsy Pelicans, 17.8 M. Another nice pitcher for Charlotte. Was a AA All Star in Season 35. Had a very good sophomore season in 37, finishing 12-4.
4. Jorge Macias RP, Wichita Rocks, 18.1 M. It's closing time. Outstanding signing by barjaz. After hanging around the minors for about ten minutes, Macias has been an All Star for four consecutive seasons and has won Fireman of the Year for three consecutive seasons. Has saved 179 of 192 attempts with a 1.29 WHIP and 2.84 ERA.
3. Francicso Melian RP, Hartford Whalers, 19.5 M. Another great closer. Melian was an All Star in Season 37, converting 41 of 49 attempts with a WHIP of 1.16.
2. Vicente Vasquez 1B, Santa Fe Brooks, 24.6 M. Worth every penny so far. In three ML seasons, he's averaged 47 HR, 134 RBI, .308 avg, .990 OPS. Won ROY in Season 35 and was an All Star in Season 37. Likely has an MVP or two in his future.
1. Takuya Wang P, Philadelphia Phoenix, 27 M. Went straight to the Bigs at age 20. No awards yet, but has great stuff. Has put together a record of 35-27 with a 1.20 WHIP and 3.63 ERA.
Finally, the Kmart Blue Light Special Award goes to RP Julio Sosa. He was signed by the Boise Shock for a mere 670 K. Was a AAA All Star in Season 36, and had a very solid rookie season with LA as a setup man, finishing with a 1.20 WHIP and a 3.21 ERA.