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Badler links three to Texas on eve of J-2 signing period

The Rangers are expected to be active when the J-2 signing period kicks off tomorrow


Tomorrow is July 2, which is the first day that international amateur 16 year olds who are part of the 2013-14 amateur free agent class are eligible to sign with a major league club.

The Rangers have been extremely aggressive in signing Latin American teenagers in recent years, with Jurickson Profar, Luis Sardinas, Nomar Mazara, Ronald Guzman, Yohander Mendez, and Jairo Beras headlining any list of top-tier amateur talent the Rangers have nabbed in J-2 periods previously. A.J. Preller, the Rangers' senior director for player personnel, has made the Rangers one of the impact players in Latin America in recent years, and while the rules under the new CBA put caps on what each team can spend, the Rangers are still expected to be aggressive in pursuing top talent this year. The Rangers' spending pool is $1.94 million, but teams can trade available pool money, which means that Texas can acquire from other franchises the right to spend more money than the $1.94 million figure they are currently at.

Ben Badler of Baseball America, who knows as much about the international free agent market, especially in Latin America, as anyone who writes about this for a living, projects that the Rangers will nab three players who make BA's top 30 list -- RHP Marcos Diplan, ranked #6, shortstop Yeyson Yrizarri, ranked #7, and shortstop Michael de Leon, ranked #26.

Diplan is listed at just 5'11", but the Rangers have not been scared away by short pitchers in the past (see, e.g., Martin Perez, Cody Buckel, Robbie Ross, Robbie Erlin), and he's still considered one of the top arms this year, being the #1 ranked pitcher on the BA list.

Part of the Yrizarri-Rangers connection comes from Yrizarri training with the same trainers as Francis Cespedes, who Texas signed just a couple of weeks ago for a $750,000 bonus (which came from last year's pool).