White Sox: Top 5 international signings in the amateur draft era
The Chicago White Sox landed 2 of the top international free agents on Friday, but how has the franchise fared with those signings since the draft began?
The Chicago White Sox made some noise Friday with the signing of MLB.com’s top-rated international prospect, Cuban outfielder Yoelqui Cespedes, which got us thinking about the best international free agents the White Sox have discovered since 1965.
Why 1965? Because that was the year MLB instituted its Amateur Draft and international free agents because an official thing in baseball. Prior to the draft, every prospect signed as a free agent (which is why the more successful teams of those bygone eras tended to remain more successful — sort of like college football recruiting today).
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The Amateur Draft pool is made up of players from the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. Players not from those countries or territory fall into the international free agent pool.
While the White Sox have some huge successes recently in the international free agent arena, it is actually not an area the franchise has been particularly strong over the 55 years since the dawn of the Amateur Draft era and this is a list that will likely look significantly different just a few years from now.
Chicago did, however, have some notable signings in the pre-draft era. That group was headlined by Hall of Fame shortstop Luis Aparicio, signed as a 19-year-old from Venezuela during the offseason before the 1954 season. That came after a strong showing in the 1953 Baseball Amateur World Series, held in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas.
Friday’s signing of Cespedes included a reported $2.05 million bonus. Aparicio, on the other hand, got $10,000 for putting his signature on the contract sent to him by then-White Sox general manager Frank Lane.
One player that won’t appear on this list is another top-notch shortstop on the South Side who later led the White Sox to a World Series title.
Ozzie Guillen made his big-league debut with Chicago in 1985 and earned Rookie of the Year honors, but the Venezuelan originally signed with the San Diego Padres in December 1980 and came to the White Sox in the LaMarr Hoyt trade in December 1984.
Here are the five best international signings by the Chicago White Sox, based on what they did for the Sox.