Originally posted on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 2/2/12

Indians manager Manny Acta has many vested interests in Dominican baseball. A native of the baseball hotbed of San Pedro de Macoris, he understands what young players dreaming of a big-league career endure just to give themselves a chance. On Wednesday, Acta shared his views with MLB.com Indians beat writer Anthony Castrovince.

Entering his third year in Cleveland, Acta is walking a thin line because of the identity and age scandal surrounding one of his pitchers, formerly known as Fausto Carmona. Sports Illustrated’s Melissa Segura explained the economic considerations surrounding Roberto Hernandez Heredia’s decision to change his name and pare three years off his age, and those of others like Marlins pitcher Juan Carlos Oviedo (Leo Nunez). Acta added that, beyond just money, teams are also cognizant of the smaller window of opportunity that older players face, forcing them to adjust not only to professional baseball but also to the new culture more quickly. 

As Acta said to Castrovince, there is a “need to adjust, adapt and improvise,” because the incentives for 18-year-old players to claim they are 16 are too great. Dominican players are very rarely signed after their 19th birthday, though there are notable exceptions, including the Dodgers’ 10th-best prospect, right-hander Angel Sanchez. The 22-year-old shined in his pro debut, and could project as a mid-rotation starter.

But what Sanchez accomplished in 2011 is remarkably unique. He leaped from Dominican college ball to Single-A without missing a beat, either on the field or off. He is the exception, not the rule, and his path to the majors remains treacherous, since he will be 23 by the end of next season and still in High-A or Double-A. One down year along the way will put Sanchez on the brink of being too old to retain his prospect status.

The obvious counterargument is that fierce competition is the nature of the game. Even those who are fortunate enough to be signed out of the Dominican Prospect League face long odds of ever setting foot on a big-league field. From the teams’ perspective, age matters—as well it should. But Acta’s defense, based on the distinctions made between college players in the U.S. and those in his native country, should not fall upon deaf ears. If teams want to avoid what Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations called “time bombs” in the Castrovince article, they need to address the system, not the individual players.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dwight Howard: ‘I have not asked the Rockets to trade me’

Nazem Kadri fined $5,000 for throat-slashing gesture

Hassan Whiteside suspended one game for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has torn labrum

Report: Antonio Tarver suspended six months, fined $50,000 for positive test

Texans owner wants team to draft a top quarterback


Subban undergoes larynx surgery, out at least eight weeks

Report: Raiders staying in Oakland for 2016 season

Cavaliers showing trade interest in Kings’ Ben McLemore

Report: Rockets shopping Dwight Howard

Jim Fassel takes issue with Cam Newton's warmup MVP cleats

Report: NFL upholds Vontaze Burfict’s three-game suspension

Kobe Bryant shoots down notion he wants All-Star MVP record

Justin Tuck will sign one-day contract to retire with Giants

Ronda Rousey returns to training

Von Miller likely to get franchise tag from Broncos

Barry J. Sanders transferring to Oklahoma State

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

USWNT start Olympic qualification in style by scoring in first 12 seconds

Magic Johnson wants Peyton Manning to join Rams

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

Franchise tag has been a useful tool for John Elway, Broncos

The 16 best NBA All-Star Game sneakers ever

Eight most potentially combustible MLB clubhouses

Matt Barnes coyly denies IG post was shot at Derek Fisher

MLB 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.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker