View Full Version : Torii Hunter's comments about Talent Development

06-18-2007, 11:15 PM
Torii Hunter had this to say last week about the talent development from Major League Clubs

"You can go to Latin America and get that same talent as a black player in Compton [Calif.], and if he's in Compton, he gets drafted in the first round he's going to get $2 million. If he doesn't pan out, you're out $2 million, but if you go to the Dominican, Cuba or whatever, and you can get a guy for $2,000 and he doesn't pan out, you're only down $2,000."

I thought that was noteworthy enough to chatter about. There is a story in the minor league forum about how the Yankees are the first team to make the official foray into signing Chinese players. Does anyone honestly believe that you couldn't find similar talent right here in our own backyard? Torii is absolutely right. Why should teams worry about developing talent here in the US when it costs them pennies on the dollar to so elsewhere, and that when that talent turns 18 it's available to anyone in the draft. Because of the draft, there is no way a team would open an academy here in the US - so that's where MLB needs to step in and fill that void. The Academy they just opened in Compton last year is a start - but it's years overdue.

Anyone else have a take on this?

06-18-2007, 11:21 PM
It's not quite like that.

Really good amateur players in DomRep and Venezuela get the teams to bid against each other.

IIRC Jackson Melian got $1.6 mm from the Yankees at age 16. And he's not the only case.

06-18-2007, 11:25 PM
Isnt this along the lines of what Gary Sheffield said the other day?

Like oneupper said though, handfuls of guys get 7 figure signing bonuses each year around the world as 16 year olds in other countries.

06-20-2007, 12:51 AM
But he is basically right, just subtract the numbers a bit. It is much cheaper to sign and try to develope young hispanic kids than american kids, black or white.

06-20-2007, 02:00 AM
It's not quite like that.

Really good amateur players in DomRep and Venezuela get the teams to bid against each other.

IIRC Jackson Melian got $1.6 mm from the Yankees at age 16. And he's not the only case.

The players don't start the bidding war, the agent/scout/slave trader they hire provokes the bidding war, and takes a hefty cut.

It's a dirty, dirty business and the sooner MLB can begin internationalizing the draft and regulating these vultures, the better.


In recent years, Dominican players such as Sammy Sosa, Vladimir Guerrero and Albert Pujols have become stars in the major leagues. But the system that produced them is rife with corruption and exploitation, according to baseball officials and scouts. It is dominated by a growing army of street-level entrepreneurs known as buscones, or finders, who groom prospects from puberty before bringing them to market. The street agents extract a portion of the player's signing bonus -- at times as much as 50 percent -- and often an additional payment from the team, even though such payments violate major league rules.

Major league teams draw from "the poorest of the poor," said Seibel. Many teams employ dentists to repair the rotted teeth of players who grow up subsisting largely on sugar cane. Because many prospects are malnourished, street agents often provide supplements such as protein powders that promote rapid weight gain. The growing use of veterinary substances is an extension of this practice, according to scouts and coaches.

"There are a lot of people out there that are injecting this stuff into these kids," said Yuly Pozo, who trains prospects in San Pedro de Macoris, a port city famous for churning out major leaguers, including Sosa. "They want some kid to throw hard, and they don't care if they destroy him as long they get their cut. If you're a person with any kind of conscience, how can you put something like this into a human being when you know the consequences it can bring? These are veterinary products, for animals."