They aren't going to be prominently displayed in the IIATMS Top 30, but to do a week dedicated to prospect coverage and not mention the Yankees' record-setting international spending spree last year would be wrong. They said they were going to go big when the signing period opened last July 2nd and go big they did. They handed out about $12 million in bonuses to a slew of top 30 international prospects in a matter of hours, and I believe the final bonus count came in at a little over $15 mil. Factor in the penalty for going that far over their assigned $2.2 million spending pool and this last international signing period cost the Yanks roughly $28.5 million. That's chump change for them as far as investing in potential future All Stars goes, so it's easy to see why they chose to make this move. It's far too early to tell if that's what will come out of that investment, but the Yankees definitely got a lot of raw talent and upside for their buck. Their top 10 guys represent 10 of the top 28 players as rated by Baseball America and 10 of the top 29 by MLB.com, including 3 of the top 5 and 5 of the top 9.
The biggest prizes of this crop, based on signing bonus value at least, were shortstop Dermis Garcia, outfielder Juan De Leon, and third baseman Nelson Gomez. All 3 are 16-year-olds, all 3 ranked in the top 10 of both the BA and MLB.com lists, and all 3 signed for at least $2 million. Both Garcia and Gomez have very high raw power marks, while De Leon's bat speed and natural hitting skills were rated as some of the best in the class. A pair of shortstop prospects, 16-year-old Wilkerman Garcia and 18-year-old Hyo-Jun Park, were also highly rated, and outfielders Jonathan Amundaray and Antonio Arias were both ranked in MLB.com's top 10 before signing.
The Yankees even swooped in months after the initial rush and signed outfielder Bryan Emery for a cool half mil, and they are reportedly among the "heavy favorites" to sign top Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada if he is cleared to sign before the end of this signing period. The Yankees haven't taken their foot off the gas while they still have the ability to hand out big money, which is the smart way to approach things before the future spending restrictions kick in. Even when they do, the Yanks should be able to find and sign top talent for modest 6-figure bonuses. They've done it plenty of times in the past.
Some of the players named above may come stateside this year to start their careers in the Rookie Gulf Coast League. That's what the Yankees did with Leonardo Molina last season. Some won't and will instead get more seasoning and experience in the Dominican Summer League. This crop of players is years away from becoming true top organizational prospects, but even if only 1 or 2 of them do, it was still a wise investment and good use of monetary advantages by the Yankee front office.