Yesterday we commented on an article by ESPN's Jorge Arangure Jr. about the upstart Dominican Prospect League. The league is producing about a 10% signing rate according to the agents who run it and those bonuses are reportedly in the high five figures and low six figures. This suggests that there are low and mid tier prospects here. As Stotle mentioned yesterday, "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."
What was troubling was what Arangure Jr. specifically wrote about the Orioles.
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 [emphasis mine] -- still have not had a regular presence at games.
After the jump, Jorge replies via twitter and Roch writes a column this morning about the article with quotes from John Stockstill.
After reading the article in full, I was actually somewhat concerned about the Orioles involvement. Resources (i.e. money, personnel) have been reported to being obviously short. For a team who operates with two full time scouts (as compared to Boston who uses fourteen) such a venue would appear to present ample opportunity to not only see these players without dealing with local buscons, but also being able to see these players in real game situations. It sounds like a great resource that the Orioles are not taking advantage of.
This lead to this brief exchange with Jorge:
@jorgearangure Are you surprised by the Orioles' lack of presence at the DPL games?
@CamdenDepot i wouldn't read too much into it. the league is barely getting started. they'll probably increase their presence at some point.
By nature of the medium tweets are rather compact in the amount of information that can be transmitted. This answer, to me, suggests that the Orioles are not seeking out new ventures until they become more established. As in, they may not wish to use resources, however minimal, on events that may be of little consequence to them. That players have been signed from this league appears to contradict that. That other Latin American Scouting directors have made a point to personally attend games also appears to contradict that. From the outside, it looks like this league actually has a good deal of consequence with regard to low and mid tier players who have been overlooked. For a club who seems unable to afford much in terms of looking, this still seems like a poor move.
So, anyway, Stotle, myself, a few others seem to have asked Roch Kobatko to take a look into it and this morning he posted an article about the league. He interviewed John Stockstill, the Orioles international director of scouting.
"We do have people reporting to us," Stockstill said.
Stockstill also pointed out that many of these players are showcased at other events. "And many of them have probably been at our facility and our camp," he said. "And that's not just Baltimore. That's probably a lot of other clubs, as well."
In other words, the Orioles aren't depending only on this prospect league to evaluate the talent over there. On any given day, you might have 20 workouts taking place at various complexes.
Furthermore, he reports that the Orioles have undergone a significant shift in who is scouting for them. These individuals may not be immediately associated with the Orioles. That still leaves it somewhat strange that their presence has not been entirely made clear to the agents who would be the ones who are likely to make a buck of this thing, but I am not an expert at how this league or these kind of league work with regard to scout interaction with agents. I figured there would be a decent amount of flesh pressing and shooting the breeze just to establish connections that may be of use later.
In the end, I think this is just something to take note of and store in the back of your head. Based on the Sun's article a few days back, it appears the Orioles are heading in the right direction at the pace of a tortoise. Our international presence is rather small, but we are being noticed. For instance, our presence was clearly involved in a major prospect this year (Miguel Jean) and that has never been the case before. It appears we are making a movement forward. Still, I question why individuals running a league do not remember or recognize the Orioles presence at these games.