The Felipe Alou Added Value
I heard something interesting on KNBR today. Dave Fleming was guest hosting on the Razor and Mr. T show and he mentioned during the Omar Vizquel interview that Felipe Alou had told him, as good and well known as the Dominican Republic is for developing top players, that in 15 years Venezuela will be the leader in that. Omar then responded that it's more like 5 years.
I don't know all the home countries of our prospects, but I do know that Pablo Sandoval, one of our top position prospects, is from Venezuela. Not as high a prospect, but also calling Venezuela their home country (researched from affiliates in 2005 via The Baseball Cube, not sure if all were retained for 2006) are Eliezer Alfonzo, Julio Cordido, Oscar Montero, Jesus Reina, Alex Requena, Guillermo Rodriguez, and Carlos Valderrama. I would say that Alfonzo and Reina probably have the most chance of making the majors of the bunch, though Reina's stats looks like Threets, so he has a lot to learn still: high K but very high BB as well.
Don't know where Curacao fits in but two prospects who got on the top prospect radar in 2005 were Shairon Martis and Sharlon Shoop. While Martis did great last year, Shoop right now have the makings of another Johnny LeMaster: all field, no hit. But he's still young, just 18 last season, so hopefully he will fill out over the years and get some pop to his bat.
Anyway, that was one thing the Giants got Felipe for, to help with the farm system after he retires as manager, so hopefully he is right and we get some more good ones like Sandoval.