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What Do Players in the Mexican League Make?

July 30, 2017

I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what the respective salary scales are throughout the world’s professional baseball leagues.  The Mexican (summer) League numbers were hard to find on line in English.  Thanks to Google Translate, I think I’ve been able to figure out what the current salary caps in this league now are.

The best information I’ve been able to find is that domestic veteran players (Mexican Nationals) max out at 150,000 pesos per month, or $8,450 per month at current exchange rates.  Foreign players cannot be paid more than either $6,000 or $6,500 per month for their first season of Mexican League baseball, but can eventually earn as much as $8,000 per month.  However, some of the Spanish language posts I read in translation asserted a belief that the best foreign players on the wealthiest Mexican League teams may be making more through rule-breaking, performance bonuses, free housing and other stipends.  Also, there are reportedly no state or federal taxes on salaries in Mexico.

The fact that Mexican League salaries are approximately 50% higher than I had previously thought they were explains a few things I had been wondering about.  Many foreign players, particularly Latin American players, play in the Mexican League for years after their careers in the MLB system end, something you don’t typically see in the Independent-A Atlantic League where salaries cap at $3,000 per month.  The talent flow is almost exclusively from the Atlantic League to the Mexican League, which makes sense if the salaries are significantly higher.

It also explains something that I had noticed this year.  Taiwanese CPBL teams seem to have a strong preference for signing Atlantic League players over Mexican League players, even though the best foreign pitchers in the latter league are succeeding against a higher level of competition.  This is particularly the case once the CPBL season has started.

Atlantic League players can presumably be signed for much lower initial contracts than better paid Mexican League foreign stars, particularly in light of the fact that success in the CPBL would eventually lead to annual or monthly contracts considerably larger than either the Atlantic League or the Mexican League, plus a chance to move up to even bigger salaries in South Korea’s KBO or Japan’s NPB.

Also, Mexican League teams typically charge much larger transfer fees for their players’ rights than do Atlantic League teams.  Part of the reason Atlantic League and other Independent-A teams are able to pay such modest salaries is that they allow their successful players to move up to better baseball pay-days for only nominal transfer fees the moment a better opportunity comes along.

I would guestimate that the current transfer fee for an Atlantic League player is around $5,000, and a small percentage of that (20-25%) may go the player.  Mexican League teams are far more reluctant to sell their players in season if they believe those players will help them make the post-season.

San Francisco Giants Bringing Back Pablo Sandoval

July 20, 2017

The Giants are bringing Pablo back!  It’s a move born of desperation on both sides, but as a Giants’ fan, of course I love it.

I’m doubtful Pablo has a lot left.  His inability to push himself away from the dinner table has taken its tole on his body.  But, on a minor league deal it’s a no-lose proposition.

Still, the Giants know Pablo, and Pablo knows the Giants.  Maybe the Giants will expend $75,000 for a year on a full-time personal trainer who can whip Pablo back into shape.  From what I’ve read, Pablo will work hard in the gym and eat healthy so long as he has someone working with him consistently (constantly).

Then, who knows?  The raw baseball skills have always been there.

I like this move for reasons beyond the obvious.  The Giants in the Sabean ERA have consistently rewarded the players who they developed and played well for them.  I strongly believe this faithfulness has more often than not brought out the best in their players and helped them break the San Francisco curse, not once but three times in five seasons.  Obviously, scouting and trading for the right players has helped too.

Fans in Sacramento will enjoy seeing Pablo suit up for the River Cats.  I also believe that having your minor league clubs within reasonable driving distance for fans to be able to at least see the major league squad a few times a season is good for the organization and the box office at all levels.

It doesn’t hurt to have the minor league squads pay for themselves.  The River Cats have the third best per game attendance despite having the 14th best record (out of 16) in this year’s Pacific Coast League.

As a final note, teams should be more willing either to pay for personal trainers or require the player as part of his contract to hire a personal trainer, at least in situations like Pablo’s.  Traditionally, teams have left it up to the players to get themselves in elite condition, since the player ultimately has more to gain or lose by the seriousness with which he takes his own conditioning.

Sometimes, though, you have a player like Pablo, with exceptional talent, but less than exceptional maturity and discipline, who needs a helping hand.  Personal trainers cost pennies to the dollars invested in elite players, so why not find a way to get them involved, at least so long as the player will work hard if he someone pushing him during his professional down time.

In Pablo’s case, it might have made, and might yet make, a real difference.

San Francisco Giants’ Prospect Joan Gregorio Suspended for Steroid Use

July 1, 2017

MLB has suspended Giants’ prospect Joan Gregorio for the rest of the 2017 season, after Gregorio tested positive for steroids.  It’s shame, because he was the best starter this year at AAA Sacramento.

Gregorio’s 3.04 ERA made him the River Cats’ only starter with an ERA below 4.50.  The next best starter has probably been former 1st round pick Tyler Beede, who has pitched O.K. but has an ugly 5.11 ERA, thanks mainly to serving up 14 long balls.  Beede is 24 this year, a year younger than Gregorio.

Former 1st round pick Chris Stratton has continued not to impress.  He turns 27 in August and currently has a 5.71 ERA after 12 starts.  It seems clear to me at least that Stratton will not have a major league career unless he’s moved to the bullpen permanently.

The only starting pitching help that’s going to come from Sacramento in the near future is Madison Bumgarner, who made his first rehab start yesterday.  It wasn’t pretty, as he allowed seven hits and four runs, all earned, in 3.2 innings pitched while striking out only one.  At least he’s pitching again and able to hit 92 mph on the radar gun.

This is going to be a long, painful season for Giants’ fans.  At least the memory of true greatness is still relatively fresh in mind.

San Francisco Giants’ 2017 Draft Picks Rounds 2-10

June 13, 2017

Here’s a quick rundown of the Giants’ Day 2 draft selections:

2nd Round (58th Overall)Jacob Gonzalez, 3B, age 19.  Gonzalez is a high school 3Bman, who is the son of former MLB star Luis Gonzalez.  He has power potential and has committed to Texas Christian Univ.

3rd Round (96) Seth Corry, LHP, 18.  A high school lefty from Utah, he had a 1.90 ERA and 97 Ks in 52 innings pitched as a senior.  He’s committed to BYU.

4th Round (126)Garrett Cave, RHP, 20.  A junior out of the University of Tampa, Cave has a live arm but command issues.

5th Round (156)Jason Bahr, RHP, 22.  Another college pitcher from Florida, Bahr appears to have missed 2016 with some kind of injury, but he was very good in 2017, posting a pitching line of 60.2 IP, 42 hits, seven HRs and 15 BBs and 98 Ks.  I assume he wasn’t drafted higher because of his age and possible past injury.

6th Round (186)Bryce Johnson, CF, 21.  Johnson slashed .350/.453/.433 and stole 33 bases in 40 attempts as a college junior.  He’s shown steady improvement in the three years of his college career.  He hit only three home runs in his college career, so his feet and glove are probably the keys to any professional success.

7th Round (216)Logan Haresta, RHP, 20.  As the University of Buffalo’s closer this year, Haresta had a 3.63 ERA and struck out 50 batters, but walked 26, in 34.2 IP.  He looks like a project.

8th Round (246). John Gavin LHP, 21.  A pitcher originally from the South Bay, Gavin had a very successful career at Cal State Fullerton, but probably doesn’t have major league stuff (216 Ks in 273 college innings pitched), unless he can match his low college home run rates in his professional career.

9th Round (276)Aaron Phillips, RHP, 20.  Phillips was a two-way player in college, but didn’t hit enough to be drafted.  He had a 3.04 ERA as a junior with 90 Ks in 100.2 IP.

10th Round (306)Rob Calabrese, C, 21.  As a junior for the University of Illinois at Chicago, Calabrese slashed .353/.425/.583 in 56 games, after not playing much his freshman or sophomore seasons.  Seems like a reasonable pick for this late in the Draft.

 

San Francisco Giants Select High School OF Heliot Ramos in 1st Round

June 13, 2017

With the 19th pick of the 2016 MLB Draft, the Giants selected high school outfielder Heliot Ramos.  Once again, the Giants drafted a player higher than others had him rated, but perhaps not as dramatically so as Joe Panik and Christian Arroyo in years past.

MLB.com had Ramos rated 40th overall and Baseball America had him at 30 in their list of the top 500 (but had the Orioles selecting him with the 21st pick this morning).

Ramos is widely regarded as the best player out of Puerto Rico this draft season.  He’s about 6’1″ and 190″, which is big for 17 years old, and mlb.com at least regards him as “toolsy,” in his case, meaning he’s fast and has power potential.

Not surprisingly, he plays center field now, but is projected to end up in left field (not quite center fielder’s range, not quite right fielder’s arm).  He’ll have to hit to make the majors as a left fielder.

Clearly, the Giants’ scouts like him more than other teams did, and their recent track record can’t be discounted.  mlb.com’s report describes him as a “project” with “high upside.”  We will find out in five to seven years.

Another Day, Another Drubbing

May 10, 2017

I’m starting to strongly suspect that I will be adding Buster Posey‘s 2017 to my list of great seasons for terrible teams.  Buster’s home run today was the only thing that saved the San Francisco Giants from consecutive shutouts.

The 2017 Giants are dreadful, and I don’t think it’s too early to write off this season and say wait ’til next year.  It’s hard to believe a team could play this badly through 34 games and not really be  a bad team.  In my mind the only question is how many losses between 85 and 105 they’ll record this season.

Changes are in order, and I don’t see any benefit at this point of waiting to see if the veterans can somehow right the ship.  It’s time to bring up Joan Gregorio and Tyler Beede and plug them into the starting rotation.  Even if they get bombed, they’ll get some valuable major league experience, and it’s doubtful they’ll do any worse than whomever they replace (take your pick).

Dump has-been Justin Ruggiano and demote Gorkys Hernandez, who has proved he hasn’t got it, and bring up two of Carlos Moncrief, Orlando Calixte and Austin Slater.  They may not be any better, but at least they’re younger and might possibly have better seasons in the future.  Use the AAA roster spaces created to promote Chris Shaw and Miguel Gomez from AA Richmond.

It’s definitely time for some heads to roll.

What’s Become of Tim Lincecum?

May 4, 2017

Is Tim Lincecum‘s baseball career over?  Probably, but who knows?

I was wondering what Timmy has been up to today, but I can’t find any information since a February 23 mlbtraderumors.com post saying that he was planning a show case for scouts.  After that, nothing.  I don’t even know if the showcase happened, but I’d guess not.

Tim turns 33 in June, so he’s certainly at an age where retirement seems likely if his body isn’t healthy and pain free.  He’s made plenty of money playing baseball, which may mean that he has no incentive to play in the minors again, unless he’s really burning to keep playing baseball simply because he enjoys it.

Tim wanted to continue being a starter, and his options there are few, although an Indy-A Atlantic League team would have snapped him up in a New York second and put him into the starting rotation if he were willing to play at this level.

If he was willing to pitch out of the bullpen, then I’d have to think at least one MLB organization would have signed him, if he were healthy enough to pitch.

It’s still early May, so we can’t completely write off Tim taking another stab at professional baseball.  However, the silence is deafening and surely is not a good sign.