Omar Minaya and Theo Epstein spoke at a round table
discussion over the weekend and the subject of Latin American player development came up. This was fun:
While many big-name players have emerged from the Dominican Republic,
the highly touted athletes often are kept out of baseball games and
kept in training facilities, thus explaining the tendency of Dominican
prospects to be more raw than most minor-leaguers. Buscones, which are
similar to agents in the Dominican Republic, take the talented children
(as young as 10 years old, according to Minaya and Epstein) and have
them fine-tune their stills through drills. This hinders their baseball
thinking so much that Epstein recalled a player that the Red Sox had
given $500,000 to that they soon realized did not understand what a
force out was.
Of course, given the fact that the Red Sox haven’t produced a single Latin American prospect of note under Theo Epstein maybe this anecdote says more about the Sox’ Latin American scouts than it says about the habits of Dominican kids and the buscones who find them.
It’s extension season and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros — who already agreed to an extension with Alex Bregman — are discussing contract extensions with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.
Funny thing about Verlander, by the way: when he got his current $180 million deal, most people fell into the “oh, there’s an overpay!” column. What’s more, this past winter, when everyone was talking about how bad it is to give guys big long term deals, Verlander’s name was notably absent in the conversation despite the fact that his deal has turned out to be quite good. I suppose that says something about how good the anti-long-term deal folks are at cherrypicking.
That being said, Rosenthal says “it would be an upset” if either Verlander or Cole signed extensions. I can see that. Verlander is locked up this year and has a vesting option for 2020, and a lot can happen in a year or two. Cole is a Scott Boras client and Boras clients tend to hit the market rather than sign extensions. Perhaps their former teammate, Dallas Keuchel‘s, terrible experience on the free agent market this winter will alter that calculus. Hard to say.