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Villalona...

 
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retep
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Joined: 30 Jan 2005
Posts: 1043
Location: Berkeley

PostPosted: Mon Sep 21, 2009 11:45 am    Post subject: Villalona... Reply with quote

Ugh...
LOS ANGELES -- Giants top prospect Angel Villalona has been detained in connection with a murder that occurred in the Dominican Republic on Saturday night, according to a report by the Associated Press.

A police spokesman in La Romana, in the east region of the Dominican Republic, told the AP that Villalona, 19, is the prime suspect in the shooting death of 25-year-old Mario Felix de Jesus Velete.

"The incident occurred Saturday at around 11 at night, and the main suspect is Angel Villalona," said Adrian Urbaez of the Dominican National Police.

Villalona turned himself in to local authorities Sunday afternoon.

"The Giants were disappointed to learn that there was an incident in the Dominican Republic last night in which an individual was killed and one of our Minor League prospects, Angel Villalona, may have been involved," the team said in a statement released Sunday. "We will monitor the situation closely and trust that the judicial process in the Dominican Republic will resolve the matter promptly and fairly."

"We know there was an incident and that there is one person dead, but we don't have the details of the case," said Frank Micheli, president of the Azucareros del Este team in the Dominican Winter League. Villalona is affiliated with the Azucareros for winter baseball.

According to the AP, Villalona will appear in court Monday and could face up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

"It's a shock, obviously," said Giants catching prospect Buster Posey, who began the season with Villalona at high-Class A San Jose. "But I don't want to comment too much on something I don't know about."

Posey raved about Villalona's personality. "I loved him," Posey said. "I enjoyed being around him."

Right-hander Waldis Joaquin, a fellow Dominican who played with Villalona at low-Class A Augusta last season, didn't address his former teammate's case specifically. But Joaquin pointed out that in his country, people occasionally shoot first and answer questions later if they're being hassled by a group.

"Maybe if you have five people in one fight, you don't want to leave, and if you have a gun, you [fire it]," Joaquin said.

Villalona, ranked No. 48 in MLB.com's preseason Top 50 Prospects list, made headlines in 2006 after receiving a $2.1 million signing bonus with the Giants as a 16-year-old. The deal represented the Giants' first and most noticeable move in its renewed effort to obtain talented players internationally.

The Giants brought Villalona along slowly, due to his youth and inexperience and also to allow him to gain an understanding of American culture gradually. After playing on the rookie-ball level in 2007, he rose last year to Augusta, where he hit .263 in 123 games with 29 doubles and 17 home runs. Former Giants outfielder and manager Felipe Alou, now a special assistant to general manager Brian Sabean, likened Villalona to Andres Galarraga, the five-time All-Star first baseman who hit 399 home runs.

Villalona, who signed as a third baseman but was moved to first base, impressed enough other observers to be selected for the World Team in the 2008 XM All-Star Futures Game at Yankee Stadium. Before this season, Baseball America rated him as the Giants' third-best prospect behind left-hander Madison Bumgarner and Posey.

Villalona hit .267 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs in 74 games with San Jose in 2009 before being shut down in early July with a quadriceps injury.

Villalona was expected to return to the United States soon to begin participating in the Giants' instructional league camp in Arizona.




And I thought that this was interesting...

More like a ballplayer – flawed as we all are – than a machine. Which brings us, sadly, to the case of Angel Villalona. Only hardcore prospect watchers and San Francisco fans have heard of the 19-year-old, who is in custody in the Dominican Republic and the lead suspect in a shooting death at a bar.

The Giants gave Villalona $2.1 million three years ago, and while he struggled with weight issues and excessive strikeouts, he remained among their top prospects. Whether that had anything to do with the alleged crime – Latin American players admit their fear at being targets in their home countries because of their riches – is unclear, as Villalona will appear in court Monday.

It’s sobering nonetheless. Baseball officials find hypocritical the cries against its lawlessness when so many NFL players get arrested. Well, between Ugueth Urbina serving more than a decade for attempted murder in Venezuela and the allegations against Villalona, baseball hasn’t room to talk. These are the actions of individuals, yes, but they speak to a sport at large. Exactly how …

MLB and the Giants plan to address this will be interesting, particularly with the signing bonuses for 16-year-olds ever larger and the urge to rush them greater. Villalona was playing in Class-A Salem-Keizer before he turned 17, not able to legally drive in Oregon, let alone drink, and whether it’s Bud Selig or Giants general manager Brian Sabean, someone must answer: Is this what’s best for kids, many of whom come from poverty and no education into millions of dollars and a nomadic lifestyle as a teenager in a country in which they’re certainly not equipped to succeed?

Some can handle it. Some can’t. Perhaps it’s foolhardy to punish those who can as a reaction to the alleged actions of one person. Or maybe it’s best that MLB saves it from happening again and makes 18 the minimum age for the minor leagues in the United States. Let the best Latin American players mature in a country comfortable to them. They’d then be the same age as their peers in rookie leagues …
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Joe shmoe
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Joined: 12 Jan 2006
Posts: 275
Location: Oakland

PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2009 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

he is released now, and the family is asking for the case to be thrown out. after receiving a 140,000 fo reconciliation (bribe) from villalona.
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