I read an interesting post awhile back by Mike Scioscia’s Tragic Illness about the Dodgers and their current lack of international talent. Â Spending by the team that discovered Pedro Martinez, Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo was at an alltime low. Â Owner Frank McCourt while using the club as his own personal piggybank cut not only one of its biggest assets (international scouting) but also what defined their organizational identity during the last 30 years. Â But as you already know when you clicked on this link this isn’t about what the Dodgers are doing wrong but it’s about what the Royals are doing right.
The Royals for a extremely long stretch of time were not cultivating much of any international talent of their own, spending little despite having big time evidence in their face (Carlos Beltran) that spending in Latin America works. Â The Royals with their less is more approach placed just three home grown international signings on the BA Top 10 list from 2001 to 2011. Â The Royals knowing that fact made international scouting a big priority re-establishing a relationship in the Dominican Republic while opening a new academy and hiring Rene Francisco to run international operations. Â That decision is starting to pay big dividends.
While the arrival of Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas were eagerly anticipated events in the Royals Twitterverse one could argue the biggest surprises at the major and minor league levels this last year came out of the international signee club. Â Salvador Perez and Kelvin Herrera ripped through multiple levels exceeding all expectations and showing that major league success is something that could come very quickly for the soon to be 22 year old’s. Â Sal is the poster boy for the international swarm the Royals are assembling but his 148 At Bats were a few too many for him to be placed on the Baseball America Top 10 list. Â Even without Sal the group Rene and Dayton assembled has matched 10 years of BA list in one year by placing Herrera, Cheslor Cuthbert and Yordano Ventura on the soon to be released 2012 list.
That Latin infusion and the talent behind it like Jorge Bonifacio (BP #8 Royals prospect), Elier Hernandez (3.1M signee) and others is a major reason why the Royals will be in the upper third of organization prospect list this year and for years to come. Â The restraints put on international spending should create an advantage for clubs like the Royals, Mariners, Yankees and Rangers who have been heavily involved recently. Â Prospects knowing the relationships that those teams have established are willing to take a little less (Elier took less) to sign with them because of the trust they have established as well as those teams knack for discovering less costly high return prospects also gives them a step ahead. Â A international draft is likely in the future for baseball but until it arrives and even when it does Kansas City lucky for us is one of the small group of team with an advantage in any international arena.
My Top 10 Royals International Signees
#1 Cheslor Cuthbert
#2 Kelvin Herrera
#3 Elier Hernandez
#4 Jorge BonifacioÂ
#5 Noel Arguelles
#6 Yordano Ventura
#7 Orlando Calixte
#8 Humberto Arteaga
#9 Carlos Garcia
#10 Yem Prades Â