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Dominicans = Heat, Venezuelan = Changeups.

Octavio Hernandez is a sportswriter working in Caracas. He previously wrote for BP about the Venezuelan Play Index.

Dominican and Venezuelan players are often mistaken on a baseball field; they share the Spanish language so they are generally together, they have that Latin swag that is identifiable from miles away, and they also usually have names that challenge the diction of every single one of the American announcers.

But, being from Venezuela, I have to clarify that there are a lot of things that distinguish these two foreign nationalities on a major-league baseball field. For example: Dominican Republic does not produce major-league catchers. They just don't. Last year, they had 138 players on major-league rosters and only three of them were catchers.

If you compare that to the Venezuelan industry, you will find a big difference: 14 percent of the 100 Venezuelan players in the majors last year were catchers.

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Reviewing a new documentary about the often agonizing July 2nd signing process for international amateur prospects.

During last year’s Wisconsin Film Festival, I watched a documentary entitled Open Season, about the events surrounding the tragic shootings of eight deer hunters in northern Wisconsin by a trespassing Minnesotan. The film was reasonably well-made and even-handed, given that the shooter happened to be a Hmong refugee and the victims were white Midwesterners, facts that could have easily enabled a broad black-and-white narrative of culture clash and racism rather than the grey-scale collision of individuals in a moment of escalating conflict. Watching the film didn’t teach me anything new about the shootings and subsequent trial, as both occurred near my hometown, two of the victims were related to me, and it was unlikely the filmmakers could learn and express as much about the events and the environment surrounding them as I already knew, having to some extent lived them.

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The Dodgers coach discusses coming to the United States, his playing experiences, and those who influenced him.

Manny Mota is known to most baseball fans as one of the best pinch-hitters of all time, but he might be better described as one of the game’s finest ambassadors and gentlemen. A coach for the Dodgers since 1980, the 71-year-old Mota came to the United States from the Dominican Republic in 1957 and went on to play for the Giants, Pirates, Expos, and Dodgers for 20 big-league seasons, retiring with a .304 lifetime average and 150 pinch hits. He encountered prejudice along the way, having emigrated to a country that didn’t see racism totally disappear with the breaking of baseball’s color barrier a decade earlier.

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May 10, 2009 1:50 pm

The LatinTalent Market


Kiley McDaniel

With the signing window for talent about to open, a primer on how things work south of the border.

There's a disease of "more" in baseball prospect coverage, and it has seeped all the way down to the growing interest in the Latin American market of 16-year-old amateurs. While this might seem borderline creepy and of dubious importance, there are many layers to this emerging foreign market. Before I start into a full sprint with scouting reports, rumors, and rankings of talent from south of the border, I want to take a page out of Kevin Goldstein's playbook, when he kicked off his prospect coverage here at BP with a series on scouting theory and lingo by catching everyone up on how business is done in Latin America.

The Aim

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September 14, 2008 11:46 am

Prospectus Q&A: Ozzie Guillen


David Laurila

The ChiSox manager discusses handling pitchers, perception versus reality, and the way of Ozzieball.

Ozzie Guillen is his own man. Outspoken and sometimes misunderstood, the mercurial White Sox skipper is not only colorful, he is also smart as a fox. Considered one of the most cerebral players in the game during his playing days, the 44-year-old native of Venezuela has shown himself to be no less wise as a manager, having led the South Siders to a World Series title in 2005. Now he has his charges-considered second-division fodder by most prognosticators when the season began-atop the AL Central as the pennant race enters its home stretch. A big-league shortstop for 16 seasons and a third-base coach for three more, Guillen took over as the White Sox manager in November, 2003.

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June 28, 2007 12:00 am

Future Shock: The Draft Spectrum, Part Two


Kevin Goldstein

In the second part of his series, Kevin investigates where players come from across the defensive spectrum.

Last week, I began to delve into the concept of the draft spectrum. To recap: I decided to try going through today's players to see if we could identify any trends when it comes to where a player plays and how he entered the pro game (the term I'm using is "source"). The player pool I'm using here consists of 254 players, defined in this exercise as starters, chosen by selecting the player on each team with the most playing time at each defensive position. So 30 x 8 = 240 + 14 designated hitters = 254. Then I identified their source of entry into the pro game. Admittedly, this is a quick-and-dirty system. There are players who are normally starters but are not counted due to injury, and there have already been job changes that will lead to the pool having a turnover somewhere in the 10-20 percent range at the end of the season.

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Nate continues to forecast the future by tracing the influx of Latin American baseball players, and what we can expect about their numbers going forward.

Trend: Major League Baseball is becoming more internationalized.

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