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Around the League: Smuggling Players, Scouting Players, Fixing Players, and More

Chicago Cubs

mlb logoSome of the more interesting pieces floating around the web …

  • Wow. The story of Yasiel Puig’s journey to the United States, as told by LA Magazine and by ESPN. If you didn’t yet know why we hear very little about the defection stories of Cuban players, you can get a slice there. A crazy tale, and completely believable. Defection can be a harrowing process, fraught with danger and shadiness, and it’s just so amazing to think about what these players have gone through as we watch them swing a baseball bat in the United States.
  • (Places so much more context around the wildness of Puig. Though I still think it’s fair to chide him for things like this: dramatically pimping a home run that winds up a good 20 feet (plus a whole lot of height) shy of actually being a home run.)
  • In a not entirely unrelated report, Ben Badler lays out the world of scouting and signings in the Dominican Republic, which requires (“requires”) teams to be in on players when they’re just 14 or so years old.
  • Badler points out that although international signing pools are technically up this year, the overall spending limit will actually be down, because teams used to get exemptions for up to six signings of $50,000 or less each (so their pool was actually about $300,000 higher than it looked). Those exemptions are now gone; in their place, teams get an unlimited number of exemptions for signings worth $10,000 or less (used to be $7500)).
  • The Rays are intent on exploring options outside of their current location, which is situated in such a way geographically that it makes it incredibly hard for them to draw a level of fans commensurate with their success.
  • The Cubs aren’t the only organization with top prospects currently on the DL. There are actually a ton of them right now.
  • Speaking of which, using Pirates pitching prospect Jameson Taillon as the exemplar, Tom Verducci digs into one of the biggest problems informing the rash of arm injuries around baseball: the way players are used when they are just teenagers in high school. One possible conclusion? Pitchers are throwing too hard (emphasis on velocity), too young (players are scouted younger and younger), too often (pitchers are throwing almost year-round). Want an early scouting edge? Find the kids who are being properly rested, and who have been for the majority of their amateur career (even if they aren’t approaching 100mph in velocity).
  • FanGraphs takes a look at issues with young Cardinals starter Shelby Miller, and suspects he might be “broken.”
  • Beyond the Box Score looks back at top 100 prospect rankings over the past decade to see who’s been the best. The lesson? Well, it’s not really anybody, because it’s damn hard to do. Rankings services have gotten slightly better in recent years, likely reflecting both their own improvements in scouting, as well as the general improvements in analysis and projection.
  • Cespedes Family BBQ on reliever Chris Resop’s … idiosyncratic post-contact behavior. You don’t have to hit it right at him to generate a cup check.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.