Angels release $8 million prospect Roberto Baldoquin
The release of Roberto Baldoquin is a painful reminder of an expensive mistake made by the Angels back in 2014.
Before rosters were frozen in response to the coronavirus, the Angels released prospect Roberto Baldoquin, who infamously signed an $8 million signing bonus in 2014. The release was originally reported by Baseball America, and highlighted by the OC Register.
The right-handed infielder was twenty years old when he signed with the Halos and made his minor league debut in High-A in 2015. After struggling over his first two seasons in the minors, hitting only one home run, and seeing his average drop to .198 in 2016, it was becoming increasingly clear that the Cuban prospect would not fulfill the promise of general manager Jerry Dipoto, who made a huge investment in the young player.
The signing came at a premium for the Angels as they exceeded their $2.4 million international bonus pool, subjecting them to a 100 percent tax on the overage. Essentially, Baldoquin cost the team $14 million. And even more frustrating than that, the overcharge prevented the team from dipping into the international signing pool in 2015 and 2016, eliminating the possibility for them to sign players such as Hall-of-Famer Vladimir Guerrero‘s son, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who later became an elite prospect for the Blue Jays.
The Cuban defect, who Dipoto described at the time of the signing as “a cross between Yuniel Escobar and Adrian Beltre” never played a game in the major leagues.
Not all prospects make it to the big leagues, there is always assumed risk in signing international talent, but the fact the Angels essentially invested three signing pools into one player makes Baldoquin’s failure to develop a painful lesson. Who knows how the Angels lineup would look today if they were able to invest that money elsewhere.
Over five years in the minors, often limited by injuries, Baldoquin batted an anemic .241/.295/.317, never progressing beyond Double-A.