Originally posted on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 7/8/13
For Marten Gasparini, choosing Royal blue over Savoy Blue was a matter of heart. The 16-year-old loves his native land, but when it comes to sport, baseball in America beats the Azzurri. Gasparini made history when he inked a contract with the Kansas City Royals last week. An native of northern Italy, he received a $1.3 million signing bonus — a record for a European amateur. A switch-hitting shortstop with elite athleticism, he is rated the 12th-best international prospect by Baseball America. According to reports, scouts feel he might be the best European prospect ever. Gasparini talked about his love of America’s pastime — and why he chose it over Italy’s sporting passion — this past weekend. —— Gasparini on his immediate future: “Right now I’m in Kansas City meeting with people from the Royals. From here I’m going to Arizona, to the complex, then back to Italy to play in the European [Junior] Championships, in Prague. After that, I’ll be back in Arizona, working out. “I’ll be at [instructional league] in the fall. I’m going to be talking to the coaches I’ll be working with, but right now I don’t know exactly what they’ll want me to work on. All I know is that I’ll be playing baseball. But I‘m sure I‘ll be working on running, fielding, my swing — I’ll need to work on everything. “My best tool is speed. That’s whether I’m in the field, on the bases, or in the box. I like playing shortstop the most, but if they feel it is better to move me to the outfield, it’s OK. But shortstop is the position I love to play.” On hitting and the level of competition he‘s faced: “In Europe, usually you can find 85 [mph], maybe high 80s. But for most pitchers, you don’t see 90s. I’m pretty comfortable hitting against mid 80s. I’ve faced some pretty good [breaking pitches]. “There are some good pitchers in the Netherlands. I was also in the Under-18s last year [in Seoul, South Korea] and faced some Japanese and Canadian pitchers who were really good. They had some great curveballs and sliders. “I try to stay patient at the plate. I try always to wait for my pitch, and when I get to two strikes, I shorten my swing up and use the whole field.” On choosing baseball over soccer: “Soccer just doesn’t make me feel as good. I think it’s kind of boring, because everybody does it. I have a much better feel for baseball. They’ve told me I could go to [soccer] practices and maybe perform well, but it is more than just [athleticism]. It is technique that makes you go far. “I played stickball when I was about eight years old. I first started to play baseball when I was 10.” “I’ve been following [Major League Baseball] every day on the internet. I go to MLB.com and follow games on live streaming. The players I like the most are Derek Jeter, Matt Kemp, and Yasiel Puig.”
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL Legends (and Jose Canseco!) Have No Love For Captain America
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Romo expected to miss 6-10 weeks with broken bone in back

Kaepernick explains why he is protesting national anthem

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

Texas Tech using fake Twitter accounts to track players

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker