13 February 2011

Revisiting the Orioles International Effort

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Over a year ago, we had a succession of three articles assessing the Orioles apparent lack of interest in a Dominican Prospect League where amateurs played in games as opposed to scouts having to watch workouts (batting practice, fielding, running, bullpen, and live pitching).  Briefly put, ESPN Jorge Arangure Jr. posted an article where the Orioles were specifically mentioned by the founder of the DPL as being one of the few teams who did not have any scouts present.  Roch then chased down John Stockstill who said that they have and will see many of these players in workouts.  Finally, Mejia (founder of DPL) is re-interviewed and says that too much was made of comments, but that the Orioles are doing things their own way.

So that leaves us with the perspective that the Orioles are not involved in the DPL because they have seen these players in workouts and in-game situations provided during the DPL's 25 game schedule that most every other team utilizes is therefore of no interest to them.  Got that?

A few days back, Andy MacPhail appeared at the University of Baltimore to talk about his experiences and approach as a General Manager.  Upon being asked about the Orioles international effort, he said:
We're still not head over heels in international scouting. We get criticized occasionally for not spending enough there. But you've got to understand, in the Dominican Republic, the whole game has changed. It used to be you'd go there and see a lot of kids playing baseball. Now there is something called a buscón. They're agents, and what they'll do is they'll take a kid who is 12 or 13 and has some promise. They'll feed them, clothe them, and put them in a workout regimen. They're not playing baseball anymore. What these guys prepare them to do is to come in all these complexes -- and now we have one of them -- and they'll do workouts. They're not playing the game anymore. They're guys who have been developed over three or four years to look good in a three or four day tryout. And there are those old fashioned amongst us who are concerned that's not really the look we need to make a good read on a 17-year-old kid out of the Dominican. We would much rather see them play games. Just think about a lot of US players who wouldn't do that well in a workout, but they are good baseball players because they can play the game. We've lost an element of that in the Dominican, and where we apply our resources is somewhat of a reflection of that.

We are not in Venezuela nearly to the degree that we need to be in. We have our approach in the Dominican. It might not be the best, but Venezuela is definitely something we need to look into in a more studious fashion because the last time I checked, you've got 6 percent of players in the major leagues are coming out of Venezuela and we need to be more active there.
The background we have presented in our own coverage and this current statement do not jive.  MacPhail is complaining about how players in the Dominican Republic do not play baseball and for the Orioles to feel comfortable handing out contracts, they really want to see them play.  However, they were one of the few teams specifically mentioned as not attending games in a league designed to give teams a look at players performing in games.

This is a simple failure of logic.

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