According to a report out of the Dominican Republic, MLB scouts are targeting international players as young as 13 and 14 years of age.
Earlier this month, Sports Illustrated published a report, by senior writer Jon Wertheim, revealing that the U.S. Department of Justice has undertaken a “sweeping probe” of MLB teams’ international signing practices and corruption.
According Wertheim, the report details “how Caribbean smugglers traffic Cuban nationals to American soil, using third-country way stations” in order for them to sign with big league teams for big league money.
This is only part of the problem
@wttspod has learned that some of the players being targeted by major league scouts in countries like the Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela are as young as 13 and 14 years old. According to mlb.com “an international player is eligible to sign with a Major League team between July 2 and June 15 of the following year if he is 17, or will turn 17 by the end of the first season of his contract.”
My source led me to a news report from June 2018 by Neftali Ruiz of Noticias Sin (below). According to Ruiz, 18 – 20 Dominican ballplayers tested positive for PED’s in tests conducted by MLB. These tests were conducted before the start of the international signing period of 2018. In the report, Ruiz interviews Rudy Santin, one of the most reputable coaches in the player signings business.
First, Santin admits that the use of banned substances is present in the Dominican baseball world. Per Santin, MLB scouts are partly to blame because, in order to compete, they sign kids as young as 13. In order for a kid of that age to get noticed, Santin says, “they have to do some things“. If they don’t, they won’t be able to hit a HR out of Estadio Quisqueya let alone an MLB ballpark.
Santin echoes his statements in a YouTube video (below) posted by a user named Jose Guerrero on September 6, 2018, calling MLB “frauds” for not doing what is necessary to end the use of PED’s. He also proposes trainers and scouts to come together and stop signing children to pro deals.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
(Credit Ángel Franco/The New York Times)
Having grown up in Washington Heights, a small Dominican neighborhood just one mile away from Yankee Stadium, Manny is a life-long Yankees fan. He began pursuing his passion for writing about baseball in March 2018 when he co-founded a small baseball media company called Welcome to THE SHOW. Manny is also a contributor at Call to the Pen. Follow Manny on twitter @MannyGo3.