Friday, June 15, 2012

Angel on the Field

Baseball America reports that Angel Villalona returns to baseball but in the DSL, not in the U.S., as U.S. immigration continues to delay issuing him a work visa that would allow him to enter the U.S.  But at least he got into his first professional game in three years and he got a knock, going 1 for 4 with a strikeout in the Dominican Summer League.  Now 21 years old, he was recently placed on their 40-man roster so that other teams could not draft him via the Rule 5 draft.

While it might be unlikely that another team would have selected him, as BA noted, I would think that there might be another team willing to take a flier for just, what, $100K, to hold who was once a Top 40 prospect in all of baseball, like a rebuilding team like Houston, who is probably finding it hard to fill their 40 man roster and thus could hold onto Angel's rights for a couple of years, while he tries to get back into the U.S.

Giants Thoughts

I think playing him in the DSL is a good plan for returning him back to the U.S.   According to reports previously, he was denied his visa because he needs to show that he is an elite athlete worthy of entry.   Plus there were reports that he was out of shape as well, which probably didn't help (or perhaps he was his usual hefty shape that he was in even when he was doing well).  Assuming he can get into playing shape, he could play in the DSL and show he is still elite and earn that via by performance.

Or he could fail and then at some point the Giants could then move on by releasing him.

Even then, I still think a team rebuilding will take a flier on him.  I think that he can still be a productive prospect.  He's only 21 still, easy to forget since he has been with us forever, but we signed him at 16.  Lets say he gets into playing shape this season, enabling the visa for next season.  22:  Augusta; 23:  San Jose; 24:  AA; 25:  AAA.  And that is assuming it takes a year each level, if he can return to his prior performance levels, he could jump a level at any point, plus if he plays well enough, he could jump a level too.  This gets him to the majors around 24-26 age range, still pretty young for a prospect.

While it is sunk cost, his bonus, people misunderstand this concept.  It does not mean you can just dump the asset, just because it was not worth what you paid for it, though that is part of what someone must give up on.  It means simply that you compare the opportunity cost of keeping the asset versus other possible investments, without regard for what you have put into it so far.  Once a bonus baby is signed, he is basically as cheap as any other minor leaguer (though I think 40-man roster players do get more money).  Meaning that keeping him is both cheap and basically the same cost as any other prospect, so there is no real reason to drop him, from this angle.

The main cost is if he is on the 40-man roster and that could have some dire consequences of forcing the Giants to drop a legitimate prospect that they would rather keep.  So there could eventually be a point where the Giants will have to make that decision.

But I just learned that Villalona is back on the restricted list (MLB).  I guess BA was just referring to their move last year following the Giant's settlement with Villalona over his lawsuit and not his current status.   With his visa issues, I guess he got put back onto the restricted list.

So the Giants are in a no lose right now situation.  Either he figures it out and does well in DSL, earning a visa to re-enter the U.S. and resume his professional career in the U.S., or he does poorly and remains in the Dominican Republic, which means he is useless to any other team too, so the Giants could let him go at some point of their choosing.

2 comments:

  1. That seems a bit odd - I know it's for Rule 5 reasons, but being on a 40 man roster would seem "elite".... roughly in theory, one of the top 1200 ballplayers in the world? But then again, he hasn't played baseball in a while, has he.

    I am really enjoying Bochy's lineup machinations, by the way. Love that mini top of the order in the 5-6-7 spots tonight. He's a smart man.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, by definition, but I am would guess that the paper pushers took one look at Villalona's physique and said, "Elite athlete my ass."

      If so, with a little research, very little, they could have found out that he was among the elite of the elite, part of BA's Top 50, not just Top 100, not that long ago, and that his body type was never elite.

      Also, probably not a baseball fan, though I would think the person probably was old enough to have been aware of a lot of unfit baseball players like Boog Powell, Luis Tiant, and there was even Rod Beck among recent fatties who were good baseball players.

      Yeah, I've learned to appreciate Bochy more and more over the years, I wasn't enamored with him early on, but he won me over by making tough decisions leading up to the playoffs in 2010, then made one of the toughest ever, leaving Zito off the roster and STILL capable of getting him to perform well for him to start the next season, before injuries made a car wreck of his season.

      Then my research found out that he is probably THE elite manager of his era, at least within the NL (never researched AL side of the 1-run phenomenon), which endeared him to me even more. I mean, his machinations with the lineups and pitching together nets his team 4 extra wins every season over the average manager. On the free agent market that is worth over $20M (don't know what a replacement level manager is, but that would be additional value on top of that) for a player. I'm really glad that Sabean jumped on him when he became available.

      I can't remember the sequence of how that happened, I'm not sure if Alou was moved on first or if that was part of the move to Bochy.

      Delete

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