Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Now that players will begin defecting, I thought I should show how different leagues compare to the MLB's.
Japanese League: Many believe that baseball in Japan is between Triple-A and the MLB, although that is misleading. They say that because there are at least three all-stars on each team which could fill a major league roster, while the bottom half of the players might not make it past Double-A.
Korean League: It is agreed by most that the Korean league is around AA, maybe even Triple-A. Some players will dominate and come to the United States but there are not many.
Italian League: A solid Italian player just signed with a major league club, I believe the Astros, but they are not spectacular otherwise. He is the first player to come over from Italy and are compared to a short-season in A ball, if that. There aren't any future stars coming there that can be seen, and it is uncertain if there will ever be any.
Cuban League: The Cuban league has brought over some good players, but many place them at Triple-A. Mostly because the bottom half of players is very weak, while only a select few can produce with a Major League club. The dimensions are smaller and pitching isn't as good, so a transition has proven ineffective to some players. Some players come over and their numbers get smaller, but are still effective. A good example of that is Mariners shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt.
Venezuelan League: The Venezuelan league is on the rise, and more players are coming out of there. The produce strong, durable players and are known to have players that can hit for both average and power. I would them between AA and AAA.
Dominican League: Baseball is the DR is focused in Academy's, but feature many good players because of there will to win and make money. However, if they are very good at the top, they get worse pretty quick. Furthermore, players are signed pretty young so it takes time to develop and break a low-A or rookie club.
Israeli League: The Israeli league is new and was a success in Israel. They had their first player signed to an Independent club a couple weeks back, but other than that, not to many prospects coming out. I would put them at Low-A or High-A.
Chinese Taipei League: The league is known for their power pitchers, but the leagues talent is very inconsistent. On a good day you'd put them at High-A, but usually sit around the low-A talent.
Chinese League: The league is still developing, but are showing some signs of life. They have smart players who just need more effective coaching. I put them at Rookie League or Low-A for now.
Australian League: More than a hobby than a competitive sport, but will have players come up in the MLB every once and awhile. Travis Blackley and Justin Huber in the MLB now and there are dozens more scattered around the minors. It is hard to compare them to any league, but you'd probably put them right around Single-A.
Mexican League: Lefty Gomez in the spotlight when it comes to the Mexcian League. Otherwise, Mexico doesn't have much pull in the MLB. There are about thirty players in the MLB, most notably Vinny Castilla. They would be placed in the Double-A range on a good day, usually High-A though.
South African League: The league is making some progress, and could see some players in the near future. However, they key word is still developing. They are around High-A on a good day and only have two players featured in the minor leagues. Barry Armitage on the Royals might break out soon, but it is uncertain when.
Let me know if you want to know about any more leagues. I will be happy to find out about whichever one you are concerned about.