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Inside baseball in the Dominican Republic

Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco
Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There is an outstanding long-form article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today by J. Brady McCullough about baseball in the Dominican Republic. Go read it.

There is a lot to digest in the article but one thing that strikes me in particular: how late-bloomers in the Dominican Republic are often discounted or overlooked by teams and scouts. Everybody wants to sign the 16-year-olds, which is understandable, but sometimes a very talented player can slip through the cracks and not sign until they are 17 or 18. Perhaps they physically developed later than other kids, or were held back by personal problems, family issues, or simple bad luck.

It strikes me that there could be a market inefficiency here that wise teams could exploit: giving a closer look to the older kids. Some teams are already known to do this, the San Francisco Giants in particular; the Pirates also got a bargain in Starling Marte as the article discusses.