The Brewers and Latin America

There has been some discussion regarding the Brewers and their expenditures for Latin talent. 

As Adam McCalvy pointed out in 2010 pointed out in 2010, from late 2003 to early 2009 the Brewers were the only team the Brewers were the only Major League team without a permanent academy in Latin America.  However, during this time they did sign several latin players, including some notable signings including:

2002 - Hernan Iribarren
2003 - Alcides Escobar ($30,000 bonus)
2004 - Roque Mercedes
2005 - Wily Peralta ($450,000 bonus)
2005 - Rolando Pascual ($750,000 bonus)
2005 - Hitaniel Arias ($450,000 bonus)
2009 - Santo Aybar (rated as 18th best Dominican prospect, signing fell through when he failed the MLB age verification)
2009 - Jose Pena ($400,000 bonus)
2009 - Jean Capellan (5-figure bonus)
2010 - Raul Mondesi, Jr. (son of former Dodger Raul Mondesi)
2011 - Elvis Rubio ($95,000 bonus)

Click on links in the names above for indivudal signing stories. 

  • Iribarren had a successful minor league career, and did appear in 26 games for the Brewers prior to being claimed by the Rangers in 2010.
  • Escobar we all know about and was part of the package that landed Greinke.
  • Mercedes has made it to AA.  Was part of the deal that brought Felipe Lopez to the Brewers several years ago and is now back with the Brewers in Brevard County.
  • Peralta is currenlty pitching in AA and was the #3 rated prospect in the system last season per Baseball America.
  • Pascual has pitched 179 innings over 6 minor league seasons...and has 176 walks and a career era of 7.88.  He's currently at Brevard County.
  • Arias has a career line of .209/.310/.327 over four seasons.
  • The Aybar signing fell through.
  • Jose Pena is currently hitting .184/.283/.301 in his second Dominican Summer League (DSL) season.
  • Capellan pitched in the DSL in 2010 and had an ERA over 6 and walked more than a batter per inning.
  • Mondesi is currently hitting .226/.327/.333 in his second DSL season. 
  • Rubio is just starting his first DSL season.

Obviously there are some othere signings over that time as the Brewers now fill out a full Dominican Summer team and there are some latin players who are starting to show up in Arizona and Helena, but these are some of the highlights.

Even with some of the large signing bonuses noted above, the Brewers are no where near the top when it comes to handing out some major bonuses.  In 2009, Patrick Clark from Beyone the Box Score had an interesting article listing the top 30 latin signing bonuses of all time.  I realize this is somewhat dated, but it is still interesting to see some of the names on the list. 

So has the latin spending the Brewers have done paid off?  Its obviously to early to tell as many of these guys sign quite young and take awhile to develop, but the players above have been a bit of a mixed bag.  I guess I'm ultimately just glad they are now actively scouting and looking at players in that market and hopefully some will pan out.