McDaniel: Analyzing the value of international signing bonus money

From Kiley McDaniel at FanGraphs on April 4, 2019:

FanGraphs has obtained bonus figures for over 90% of all the international signings in baseball history. We have all of the most significant bonuses, every big leaguer, notable current prospects, and everything in the mid-six figure range and above, along with many years for which we have every single signing.

This provides us with a pretty complete picture of the distribution and trends of these bonuses, also allowing us to estimate how many players we’re missing. Those players are overwhelmingly names you wouldn’t recognize, guys who played for a couple of years before being released, signing as filler for a five-figure bonus.

We’ve taken out all of the major league deals (think older, high profile Japanese and Cuban players), and we have incomplete data for all of the Mexican players, as MLB notes all of them as receiving a $0 bonus (it’s an easy workaround for a convoluted system that’s mostly cleaned up now). We’ve filled in correct bonuses for players where we have it, mostly among the high profile Mexican signings, like Luis Urias and Julio Urias (no relation).

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Originally published: April 5, 2019. Last Updated: April 5, 2019.