Braves sign 18-year-old Dominican prospect for $1.6 million

Leave a comment

David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves and Dominican shortstop prospect Edward Salcedo have agreed to a deal worth $1.6 million.
Salcedo has been on the prospect radar for several years and nearly signed with the Indians for a reported $2 million back in 2007, but O’Brien notes that “the deal fell apart because of questions about whether he was old enough to sign with a major league organization.”
MLB recently conducted an official investigation at the Braves’ request and found that Salcedo was born on July 30, 1991. So now the Braves have an 18-year-old shortstop prospect who O’Brien describes as “a strong defensive player and a better hitter, with a line-drive swing and good power potential.”
He’ll likely begin this season at Single-A, but it sounds like the Braves think the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder has the potential to move pretty quickly up the organizational ladder.

More position players have pitched this year than ever

Getty Images
7 Comments

Yesterday, in Milwaukee, utilityman Hernan Perez pitched two scoreless innings, and backup catcher Erik Kratz pitched one himself, mopping up in a blowout loss to the Dodgers. In doing so they became the 31st and 32nd position players to pitch this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that is the most position players who have taken the mound in a season in the Expansion Era, which began in 1961. Presumably far fewer ever did so when the league had only 16 teams.

It’s pretty remarkable to set that record now, in this age of 13 and sometimes 14-man pitching staffs. That’s especially true when teams shuttle guys back and forth from the minors more often than they ever have before and when, due to the shortened, 10-day disabled list, it’s easier to give guys breaks because of “injuries” than it ever has been.

Pitcher usage is driving this, however. While teams carry far more relievers than they ever have before, they actually carry far fewer swingmen or mopup men who are capable of throwing multiple innings in a blowout to save other pitchers’ arms. Rather, teams focus on max-effort, high-velocity relievers who go one or two innings tops, thus requiring catchers and utility guys to help do the mopping that actual pitchers used to do.

I don’t know if that’s a bad thing necessarily — some of these backup catchers throw harder than a lot of pitchers did 30 years ago and it’s always kind of fun to see a position player pitch — but it is yet another way the game has changed due to a focus on specialization and velocity when it comes to pitchers.