Originally posted on 22gigantes  |  Last updated 10/5/11

Villalona is ready to trade his Kevlar for some good old fashioned polyester moisture-wicking performance mesh.

According to The Associated Press, former Giants first base prospect Angel Villalona is now back to “current” status with the organization.

Villalona, 21, was signed by the Giants for $2.1 million when he was just 16 years old, but fell into trouble in his home land of the Dominican Republic when he was charged with the Sept. 19, 2009 murder of a bar patron in La Romana.

Those charges were dropped when the victim’s family asked the judge to drop the case. (Translation: somebody got bribed.)

Villalona threatened the team with a $5 million lawsuit last month, but has since dropped the suit now that he’s back in the Giants’ farm system.

He’s a big-time power-hitting prospect who was once compared to Alex Rodriguez and Adrian Beltre.

In a partial season at Class-A San Jose back in 2009, Villalona batted .267 with nine home runs and 42 RBI. At the time, he was considered the Giants’ second-best hitting prospect (behind some dude named Buster Posey). He was also rated by Baseball America as one of the sport’s top 50 prospects and was chosen for the Futures All-Star Game.

The Giants paid a lot of money for him (the $2.1 million was a record signing deal for the franchise back then) and I’m sure they would love to get a return on their investment.

Villalona reportedly stayed in baseball shape during the five-year ordeal. The Giants need to figure out for themselves, however, how he ranks now. They are sending him to their Dominican camp in winter ball for evaluation.

Obviously, he has lost a lot of development time, but who knows? If the kid can harness his raw talent and show off some of those mad skills that led to his signing in the first place, he could still salvage his baseball career. At the very least, he could become serious trade bait for another team.

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