Wednesday, January 11, 2012

White Sox Drop Some Cash On Venezuela's Luis Martinez

The White Sox have discovered a strange, new land
The White Sox haven't been shy about going after Cuban players in recent years, with the signings of Alexei Ramirez and Dayan Viciedo, along with their reported interest in Yoenis Cespedes. Still, when it comes to signing other Latin American free agents, the team really hasn't spent a whole lot of money recently.

That changed on Wednesday.

According to Ben Badler of Baseball America, the White Sox spent $250,000 on Venezuelan pitcher Luis Martinez.
The White Sox have signed Venezuelan righthander Luis Martinez for $250,000, the organization's most expensive international signing in recent years. 
Martinez, who turns 17 on Jan. 29, is 6-foot-4, 195 pounds and gets good downhill angle on an 88-91 mph fastball that has hit 92, an increase from the 84-88 mph velocity he was showing last summer around July 2. He has a projectable frame with long arms and plenty of room to fill out, so he should have at least a plus fastball in time. Martinez has a solid delivery, a high-70s curveball that is his best secondary pitch and he mixes in a changeup as well. 
Martinez is from Carupano and trained with Luis Blasini, whose other notable signings from the July 2, 2011 signing class included Rangers lefthander Yohander Mendez ($1.5 million) and Rangers outfielder Eduard Pinto ($350,000).
To give you an idea of what that $250,000 really means, the White Sox spent $345,000 on all their international amateur signings in 2010. Which has pretty much been the norm the last few years, and understandably so given all that happened with Dave "A Dollar For You And Two For Me" Wilder and friends running things in the past.

This could also be an indication that the Sox plan on getting a bit more serious on the international front, as it's the first signing the team has made with Marco Paddy running the team's Latin America scouting department. Which would be good, provided that Paddy knows what he's doing.

We'll have to wait a while before we find out about Martinez, but Paddy was also the man who recommended Nestor Molina to Kenny Williams, so Molina's ability will give us a better idea of Paddy's eye.

Either way, I have to admit that it's refreshing to see the White Sox heading in this direction. With the current state of the team's farm system, the Sox can't afford not to explore every avenue for finding talent.

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