Despite its low-level sounding name, the league actually features a higher quality of play than the summer leagues in either the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. The reason why is that along with the local prospects and ones on trial, players with experience in the USA also suit up.
For example, in the 2010 league which played from October into December, third baseman Roberto De La Cruz and outfielder Oscar Taveras were among the Cardinals position players active. De La Cruz, the recipient of a $1.5 million signing bonus two years ago, was the co-leader in home runs in the Gulf Coast League at the age of 18. Taveras, also 18 last season, is our number 11-ranked prospect in the Cardinals system and was a serious contender for the Most Valuable Player award in the 2010 Appalachian League.
In the following audio interview, Cardinals Director of International Operations Moises Rodriguez explains a bit about the league and its top pitchers and position players plus provides a peek into plans for sending Latin American prospects to Jupiter, Florida for spring training at the beginning of March.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Selected TCN content appears at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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