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Major League Baseball launching a “prospect league” for unsigned Dominican players

Mar 22, 2012, 5:10 PM EDT

dominican republic

Just got this press release. Surprisingly, nowhere on it does it say “dudes, we’re doing this as a baby step towards instituting an international draft:

Major League Baseball will launch a new league that will provide a neutral forum for Major League organizations and scouts to observe the top unsigned amateur players in the Dominican Republic, it was announced today.

In addition to featuring players that will become eligible to sign after July 2nd, the new league will also broaden its focus to include players who are already eligible to sign professional contracts.

I suppose this starts to address the issue of what to do about talent development if teams have no incentive to go out and find players themselves if a draft is instituted. Of course, who goes out and finds which unsigned guys to even put in the league remains an open question.

  1. qcubed3 - Mar 22, 2012 at 8:08 PM

    At a Cactus League game this year, I talked to a talent scout from the DR who explained most convincingly that the international draft is a terrible, terrible idea for the players involved as they would be way underpaid from their N.American counterparts amongst many, many other reasons. This scout had a petition against the draft from every single currently playing latin player I’ve ever heard of.

    The prospect league may be a good in-between, but for the latin players’ sake, I hope it’s not a veiled attempt to implement an international draft at a later date.

    • paperlions - Mar 23, 2012 at 7:42 AM

      The reason a lot of these guys choose baseball over soccer and basketball is that they can get a nice signing bonus at age 16 or 17. Now, the chance of such bonuses are much reduced as teams won’t have to compete to sign guys. With the greatly reduced chance of such up front money, there will be fewer guys playing baseball and fewer in-country scouts recruiting athletes to baseball.

      Compared to the Hispaniola, Puerto Rico is a very rich island; and the inclusion of PR in the draft killed the talent base there already.

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