ESPN Jorge Arangure Jr. posted an update on the Dominican Prospect League in his blog, today (link for ESPN Insiders). To catch everyone up, the Dominican Prospect League was put together by three agents to help showcase some young and talented ballplayers from the Dominican Republic. The idea was to provide a central location and game situations wherein players could perform for scouts against good competition. Essentially, make the scout's life easier by putting good talent on display in game situations and make the player's life easier by giving him a chance to be seen by a bunch of Major League Organizations.
Troubling Baltimore news as the story continues after the jump...
The league has some questions surrounding it, including whether the cream of the crop will consistently show and how much the buscons might affect the league by trying to force playing time for certain players. But generally, the league seems to be very well received (quote from Arangure's linked piece):
"The league has allowed me to see the supposed top players for this year's signing period in game action," wrote Reds Latin American scouting director Tony Arias in an email. "Time will tell if all the top kids participated in the DPL. I think most Latin Scouting Directors have made it a point to see the DPL games when they are in the Dominican on Wednesdays. It has been beneficial to both the kids and teams in the scouting process in allowing all teams access to scout the kids playing in games amongst their peers. I hope they continue to have harmony and success with this venture as I think it benefits all the people involved with baseball in the Dominican."
Some teams have found some "overlooked" value, as Arangure reports further that seven players not signed this past summer have now been inked to mid-five to low-six figure deals. The main takeaway seems to be that the League may not cover all the bases on the Dominican scouting field, but it's a great place to get a look at good talent, particularly for organizations that aren't well-established in the Dominican Republic as of yet.
Unfortunately, according to Arangure's latest report, Baltimore has not been an active participant:
"Also, though most teams' scouts have shown up regularly for games, Mejia notes that some teams -- like the Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles -- still have not had a regular presence at games."
We all know it takes time to make inroads in Latin America. You need to develop relationships with the buscons and earn some trust and a level of comfort with the communities. But how can an organization so dreadfully lacking on the international scene not take advantage of an opportunity like this? Provided there isn't much more to this story, this looks like another missed opportunity for the Orioles, and another inexcusable failure on the international front.