Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Could Puerto Rican Baseball Come Back? Could Wang Come Back?

According to the Lohud Yankees blog, former Yankees ace, Chien Ming Wang was over at the minor league complex earlier today, throwing for scouts.  Could we see Wang back in pinstripes in the near future?  Wang has pitched for the Nationals the last couple seasons, but not particularly well.  Wang was originally one of the better pitchers in the league back in 2006 and 2007, until a freak base running accident cut short his 2008 season.  He injured his foot and missed the rest of the 2008 season.  He tried to come back in 2009 but ended up injuring his shoulder (likely because he was over compensating due to the foot injury).  He missed the rest of that season, and the Yankees did not bring him back in 2010.  Instead, he was signed by the Nationals, rehabbed with them that year, and then made his Nationals debut in 2011.  His numbers in 2011 and 2012 have not been very impressive.  As a potential low risk, high reward guy, I don't see a problem with seeing if that sinkerball can work for us again.  I'd love to see him back.  But I suppose that'll be determined by the strength of his throwing session today.

In other news, Puerto Rico lost 3-0 last night to the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic finals.  The score was surprising on two levels: 1, that the Puerto Rican pitching only allowed 3 runs, and 2, that the Puerto Rican hitters couldn't score a single run.  I'm hoping that at the very least, this raises interest in player development in Puerto Rico and that young athletes on the island turn their interest to baseball over basketball or any other sport.  Baseball is still very popular on the island, and a definite source of pride.  Since moving Puerto Rico into the players draft, talent on the island has been on the decline.  In places like the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, teams will have baseball academies that develop their own players, and then sign them when they feel they are ready.  This was the case for Puerto Rico until they were moved into the players draft, and that focus on player's development is where you saw some of the great talent coming from the island (Including Jorge Posada and Bernie Williams for the Yankees).  In the players draft, teams have little incentive to develop talent, because they'd be developing them just to see them signed by teams with a better draft position.  There has been some hope recently.  Former Rangers pitcher Edwin Correa runs a non-profit high school and baseball academy in Puerto Rico with the set purpose of developing baseball players on the island.  The first overall pick of the 2012 players draft by the Astros was shortstop Carlos Correa (no relation to Edwin Correa) from the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy.  There were 23 Puerto Rican players drafted this year, 4 from the baseball academy. 9 of the drafted players from the island were drafted in the top ten rounds of the draft, and 3 of them were chosen between the 1st round and the compensation round.  So it'll be interesting to see where Puerto Rican baseball will go.  Especially since all other countries may soon need to follow suit.

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