Kiley McDaniel has a lengthy piece at BP today, highlighting the prime Latin American talent available once the signing period starts on July 2. Of particular note for Rangers fans are some comments in the Guillermo Pimental section:
Pimentel is another controversial prospect, but not because of his talent. Instead, it's because he allegedly agreed to a verbal deal with the Rangers, and then went into hiding beginning in the first week of February. Other clubs have been effectively blocked from seeing him, and a few have lodged formal complaints with MLB.
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The video below also illustrates the last negative on Pimentel: teams simply haven't seen him. A number of clubs were on him before early February, and most have likely seen him before, but he was not available to be crosschecked by the decision makers. That makes this video quite rare, and many teams don't have any video at all of Pimentel; some joke that he's a Sidd Finch-like character. This footage was taken late in January, just before he stopped working out for clubs:
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Projected Team: The Rangers are obviously my prediction here, but it isn't a slam dunk. I've been told that the Rangers have been disciplined for similar actions in the past, and they're allegedly doing the same thing with another high-profile prospect this year, SS/RHP Jurickson Profar from Curacao, with a deal done at $750,000. The punishment in the past was a slap on the wrist—not being allowed to sign the player until July 9th. It's unclear when or if a formal investigation will occur or what the possible penalties might be, but there has been some speculation that the Rangers may be barred from signing Pimentel.
Projected Bonus: The number associated with all of this Rangers talk has been $2 million, which sounds about right for a discounted bonus five months ahead of the signing period. I'll stick with that, with the understanding that he's worth much more.
You have to think that this is some of the fallout from the Michael Ynoa signing last year, when the A's, some believe, reached an early deal with Ynoa. McDaniel appears to be suggesting that the lesson that the Rangers took from losing out on signing Ynoa is that, if teams aren't going to be sanctioned for cutting early deals, then they might as well go ahead and cut early deals of their own.