This article is part of our Baseball Draft Kit series.
This year's international class is more notable for the star players staying put instead of the players making the move to MLB. The league's new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) broadened the bonus restrictions on foreign players to include those up to age 25 and with up to six years of professional experience. Still, some high impact players could emerge to continue a recent wave of talent from Japan, Cuba and South Korea.
When the CBA was announced, the spotlight immediately turned to hyped Japanese two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani, who is 22 years old, with four years of professional experience. The hype around Ohtani is justified. As a pitcher, he works in the 96-99 mph range with his fastball and he has touched 102 mph. It's a package that dominated in 2016 to the tune of a 1.86 ERA with 174 strikeouts in 140 innings. Blister problems kept him off the mound for much of the summer, allowing him to focus on his DH role, where he slashed .322/.416/.588 with 22 home runs in 323 at-bats.
Ohtani will be in MLB sooner or later, but coming prior to 2020 could cost him perhaps a quarter of a billion dollars.
While we wait for Ohtani, there are a couple of interesting names to look for in 2017.
The first of those names should ring familiar – Eric Thames is returning from a three-year stint with the NC Dinos of the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) to play for the Brewers. Thames notably