MLB International Free Agency 2014: Preview, Predictions and Prospects to Watch

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MLB International Free Agency 2014: Preview, Predictions and Prospects to Watch
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Wednesday officially marks the start of the 2014 MLB international signing period, and while the process has become far more regulated with the addition of signing bonus pool restrictions, it remains perhaps the biggest crapshoot in all of professional sports.

After all, most of these prospects are still just 16-year-old kids who have seen limited scouting exposure playing in Latin America, and teams will soon be shelling out seven-figure bonuses banking on them living up to their potential.

There is undoubtedly some risk, but these days, teams almost have to get involved on the international market, with so many star-caliber players coming out of the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and, on a smaller scale, Colombia, Mexico, Taiwan and South Korea.

So as teams look to find the next superstar international free agent, here is everything you need to know about the signing process, the top available prospects and the leading suitors to land each top prospect.

 

*Prospect rankings reflect a prospect's average ranking position in the top 30 international prospect lists from Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com and Ben Badler of Baseball America.

*Top suitor predictions also taken from those two sources, as many prospects already have verbal agreements in place prior to the signing period opening.

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