When the MLB lockdown began last Thursday, there was still a lot of confusion over whether MLB’s 2021-22 International Signing Day would still take place or be delayed. Thanks to multiple contacts with international players and Major League Baseball, I was able to ensure that the signing day of January 15, 2022 will still take place.
The reason the date remains the same is that contracts international players sign are processed and qualified as minor league contracts. Minor league players and their contracts are not part of the ongoing lockout and ongoing negotiations for the new CBA. Minor league players are still allowed to train at team facilities as well as contact and work with coaches, coaches and all employees in their organization during the lockdown. The 2022 minor league season will not be affected. Players on their team’s 40-player rosters will not be able to participate in minor league games.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the international signing period previously started on July 2, but now begins on January 15 of each season. An international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between January 15 and December 15, 2022. He must be 16 years old before signing. Concretely, this means that players born after September 1, 2005 are eligible to sign.
The Cleveland Guardians are currently linked with 13 players for their 2021 international signing class who are expected to sign on or soon after January 15, 2022. Outfielder Jason Chourio from Maracaibo, Venezuela and wide receiver Victor Isturiz from Barquisimeto, Venezuela are two of the best players in the class who are expected to sign and become future Guardians. The two will be signed for contracts just north of $ 1 million each.
Chourio is a hard-hitting outfielder who is a dynamic athlete with many tools that should be able to stay in the middle of the pitch. Chourio plans to be an above average runner and has one longer arm. It’s too early to project him as a hitter, but like many prospects of his age, he’s working on his discipline at the plate and his recognition of the field. Chourio’s older brother Jackson Chourio, a shortstop, signed with the Brewers in the previous international signing period.
Iztur is a left-handed stick who is currently a touch hitter with a bit of pop who has great barrel awareness and is able to recognize shots well in the strike zone. In defense, he shows gentle hands and builds arm strength with a chance of being an overall above average receiver going forward. Victor is the nephew of former MLB infielder Cesar and Maicer Izturis.
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