The calendar has turned to July and in the baseball world, that means scorching heat, postgame fireworks shows, the All-Star Game, the trade deadline and the start of the international signing period for 16-year-old prospects from Latin America.

Players from Latin America are not subject to the draft like players from the United States and Canada so this is an important date for clubs that invest years into scouting a young player in hopes of getting him to sign when the market opens on July 2.

In many cases, teams have had handshake agreements with players for months, but contracts don't become official until Monday morning.

Teams are guided by MLB's international signing bonus regulations. The Phillies had a budget of just over $3.9 million for this summer's international class.

The Phillies are expected to sign a dozen or so Latin American prospects in the coming weeks and a number of them will become official Monday.

Word in baseball circles is that the team has agreements with several highly regarded prospects, including Starlyn Castillo, a 16-year-old pitcher from the Dominican Republic. Castillo is a strong-bodied right-hander who has been up to 97 mph with his fastball. Word is the Phillies will sign him for $1.6 million.

In addition to Castillo, the team is said to have agreements with Fernando Ortega, a right-handed pitcher from the Dominican Republic; Andrick Nava, a left-handed hitting catcher from Venezuela; and Alexeis Azuaje, a middle infielder Venezuela with top of the chart foot speed.


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