Phillies close to signing Venezuelan OF Carlos Tocci

Jim Salisbury has the details here. The rumored price is $750K, which would be a Phillies record in Latin America. Seems to be ultra athletic, with excellent speed, and he throws/bats righthanded. This would be a fairly significant investment, by the Phillies standards, and would be welcomed with open arms.

Update –> He’s signed, according to Baseball America, for $759,000.

84 thoughts on “Phillies close to signing Venezuelan OF Carlos Tocci

    1. In all honesty, even if this the only major LA signing, I’ll be elated. Progress can be slow, but any progress in the LA market sounds good to me!

  1. You have his thing wrong where it says Right handed and switch bat.. He is not switch according to Jim Salisbury, he is righty. Right handed throwing and right handed bat.

  2. I’ll believe it when it’s officially announced, but I like that we’re in on a guy like that.

  3. Nice offset for Santana. Typical toolsy Phillies prospect. Love it! Must have liked him more than Garvey.

      1. Tocci is a very thin CF with a body type that doesn’t look like it will fill out much. Very good speed. Not really a Santana type.

        1. How can you tell that ? The photo I saw of him revealed that he looked to be a lanky white guy. I also saw an article about him, but it was in Spanish. He won’t be 16 for another week or so so I can’t imagine how you can write that he won’t fill out much.

          1. There is an on line scouting report which says that because of his body build, especially his narrow shoulders, he probably won’t fill out much.

            1. Too soon to definitely tell how he will fill out. At 15/16 I was tall, lanky and had narrow shoulders.

              By 18 I was still on the thinner side but I had began to fill out and my shoulders were broad. I coach high schoolers, I see similar development all the time from their Sophomore year to Senior year.

              Maybe he doesn’t fill out and remains a speedy CF type, but I don’t care if its scouts saying that, its simply too soon to make that judgment.

  4. This is good, if it does in fact happen. During the trade deadline Charlie Manuel kept suggesting that the Phils should give up anything in a trade. I started to worry that the Phils were going to forget about the future and just go all in, like some of these writers were recommending. They did give up a lot for Pence, but not Worley or Brown. Then they spent some extra money on the draft this year and they go after this guy, who is a lot like Santana. The Phils have shown that they do care about their future and I am proud of the organization.

  5. So, assuming this happens, what would be his timeline for the next two years? Play in the academy and then move up to VSL games some time next year?

    1. Since he just turned 16 in August, I think he’ll probably spend next year playing in the VSL, which will be considered his age 16 season. Then he’d come to the US in 2013 and play in the GCL, when he’d be 17 for the duration of the season. He could stay in the VSL for 2 years if needed and still be fine, age wise.

      1. I would think it is highly likely that he makes his debut in GCL. Part of the equation is whether he is ready physically and culturally. But I would also submit that just about all the Phillies top LA signings do go straight to GCL. Not the $100K-$200K guys. The $300K+ guys. This group includes pitchers like Carrasco, Robinson Tejeda back in the day, and Nunez and Vargas recently (a couple of games in DSL before the GCL season don’t count that much). Position players going direct include Galvis, Carlos Rodriguez, and Santana.

        I agree with the 2 years, maybe even 3. But I think it is likely to be in GCL where there is a better coaching staff and hopefully the same level of language and cultural instruction.

        Good to see this move IMO. Seems like a right handed Gose/Gillies type from the reports. I suspect that $750K today is equivalent to the $330K that Santana got only a couple of years ago. But at least the Phillies are trying. I agree with not going after the $2 million plus guys. But I also think we need to play in the second tier to continue a serious presence in Latin America.

        Stay tuned for VSL/DSL wrap-ups in the next couple of weeks as work gets a little slower near Labor Day.

      2. Do the Phillies lean more to the Venezuelan prospects versus the DomRep prospects?
        And if they do, why?

        1. I think yes. Nearly every team has a presence in D.R. but fewer teams have a presence in Venezuela, one of them being the Phillies.

          1. The Phillies are one of the very few teams having academies plus playing & training facility complexes in both Venezuela & the DR. In the past five years the majority of MLB clubs that had a franchise in the VSL as well as an academy have left of abandoned plans for facilities–consequence probably of crime, violence, political stability & hostile US & Venezuelan attitudes toward each other. The Pirates (and to a lesser extent) the Rays are the only MLB clubs that have Venezuelan operations on a scale anywhere approching the Phillies facilities & staffing–and the Rays are building new facilities in Brazil, will close down their Venezuelan presence when they are ready.

            No other club (Pirates come closest) scout, sign, develop as many players in the VSL as do the Phillies, who make good use of their dominant presence to scout the entire region, and find first, bring to their academy & sign many kids that don’t come to the attention of other MLB clubs, who don’t have the scouting in place in the country but send it Carribean regional scouts to evaluate players who have gained enough prominence that MLB clubs in general have become interested.

            Since MLB’s rule is that Latin kids can be signed at their 16th birthday, this means the pressure is on to evaluate & decide upon prospects when they are still only 13, 14, 15 years old–and in Third World countries where diet, public health, dental care, medical treatment, etc are rare, expensive, outdated, and often unavailable the consequences are poor nutrition, impaired & delayed mental & physical development, frequent problems of emotional stability, social & cultural adjustment. Far, far more risk & much greater difficulty in projecting the potential of Latin kids than stateside.

            The Domincan is a very different situation–every MLB club maintains a presence in the DR, 3 or 4 organizations like the Yankees, Mets, Cubs actually have TWO teams in the DSL. Most MLB clubs, including the Phillies, have or will have much-upgraded facilities and academies in the DR in the last few years. The Phillies MO in international player acquisition & development emphasizes a more extensive & exhaustive search for “hidden gem” talent, scouting & signing overlooked & late-blooming kids. But now that the DR is so over-saturated with baseball scouts, agents, “advisors”, bustados, it very well may be that its becoming increasingly difficult for Phillies scouts to “discover” talent not yet seen by numerous other scouts.

            The DSL Phillies have not been quite as strong the past couple of seasons as they were early in the decade–especially finding kids who can hit & show some power potential.
            Tougher going in the Dominican probably factors along with the advantageous position of the Phillies in Venezuela & Central America as the key factors in the apparent
            trend toward more notable prospects out of the Latin American mainland than from Carribean.

  6. What type of draft pick would he be if he were in the States? Is he a Supp/2nd round talent (basing on his signing bonus) or are we paying a premium due to the lack of a draft in Latin America?

    Great to see us investing down there if this pans out.

      1. For what it’s worth, Badler’s rankings were based on expected signing bonuses. He says (twice, in fact, and in bold print) that they were not based on talent levels.

        He calls Tocci ” one of the more intriguing prospects in Venezuela.” He says that after a good outing at an MLB showcase in Venezuela in April, scouts were talking about his “speed, swing and stick-figure body.”

        “Tocci’s a plus-plus runner who shows feel for hitting with a line-drive swing. He can get around the ball with a loopy swing at times and he doesn’t have great bat speed, but he does a good job of using the whole field. Getting stronger should help his bat get quicker, though he doesn’t project to hit for much power. He has the speed to play center field with a solid arm.”

    1. You have to think since he’s 15/16 yrs old that it’s a significantly more high risk high reward type of signing then even an 18 year old… If i were to guess, we’re paying a premium in LA… but I have no stats to back this up so take it for what its worth.

  7. From BA’s Ben Badler: The ability of teams like the Phillies and Rockies to find major league talent in Latin America every year without breaking the bank should be the next Moneyball movie.

    1. Taller than Quinn. Hard to know how big he will get at that age. More of a Carlos Gomez type from the reports at this point.

  8. All I have ever wanted out of Reuben Amaro is to spend enough money in LA and the Draft to put the Phillies in the middle of the pack as it relates to spend…and not be at or near the bottom of spend every year.

    I trust Wolever and the scouts to find and develop the right players. So this would be welcome news if it actually happened.

  9. Whatever happened to that Franklyn Zavala 330k LA signing we had last September. That 6-4 Lefty pitcher. Did he ever pitch this year?

    What about that 300k signing of SS anderson Gonzalez last year.

    I don’t see his any of these names in the box scores…

    is it the case of the Eldemires?

    1. He has been on the DL all year. The 2 Venezuelan SSs we signed were both overage. Gustavo Gonzalez has been playing SS at GCL this year and Silva is at VSL. Neither looks like much of a prospect at this point, but at least they did not get their original bonus. That money went to Zavala who is also/now known as Franklyn Vargas.

      1. My goodness….we are now signing 16-year old Latins with alias’! Perhaps he has taken his mother’s surname as many do, i.e. Franklyn Zavala-Vargas.

  10. Can’t tell the players without a scorecard! Name changes, “disappearances,” age changes. Where’s Waldo?

    Scouting in LA carries its own peculiar risks. Impetus in LA is to try to rise high enough in baseball esteem to grab some REAL money, deceit enabled and practiced.

    This supposed signing is likely a 5-6 years ahead of his appearance in any MLB game. His frame at his thin height would add 25 lbs in that time. IMO, the Phils view him as a 5-tool talent…to be formed over that time. Betcha they viewed his family tree to see what had been the physical history of his family…to predict his future frame.

    We’ll see and WATCH over the next several years to follow his stats AND physical being.

    1. ArtD…………so Tocci is signed in August 2011, when and what year does he need to be at the MLB level before he becomes a Rule 5 guy?

      1. Tocci would sign a contract for next year and not be eligible for the rule 5 draft until the end of his 5th season (2016). Then he would have 3 years of options beyond that through 2019. He would have to stick in the majors in April of 2020 – when he will still be only 24 years old.

    1. And by that time he SHOULD be on the 40-man roster, which protects him from the Rule 5 draft…even if he is not playing MLB at that time.

  11. See what happens when the Phils invest major $$$$$ into a single LA player?????????? The core itself is rocked!

  12. Guessing the additional $9K added on top of the original $750K estimated went to re-finish a kitchen…at least that is the going rate in the Mid-Atlantic.

  13. Sounds like Garvey was closer to being ready than Tocci….and expected due to age/experience. Given a choice between the two…where would you rather spend the $$? Garvey has the bloodlines and gets my vote

    1. I trust the Phillies. If they want the kid this badly then I’m excited – and even more so because this is a big dollar signing which they generally shy away from. You can be sure this kid has some serious tools!

    2. Steve Garvey was not a great athlete. He was a great hitter in a very mechanical way which doesn’t make me just assume his son would be great any more than Pete Rose’s son. Find me Griffey’s son….

      1. I mean if you’re gonna go that far… how about Ted Williams grandson? That man had the best swing in the history of baseball.

        1. Just for the record, before anyone bashes my pick of Williams over Griffey, Griffey had a century of science, study and advanced coaching behind his development. Williams on the other hand, was nearly all geneic since very little of that was available back then.

          Just my take.

          1. Not sure what you Ment about “a century of science” is that to imply Griffey was using. Not to get off topic but Griffey jr. was as legit as you can be for a player in the 90’s. What’s next Fred Mcgiff (sp) utilized science??????? If you were only implying modern medicine ie surgeries, I apologize.

  14. It looks like the Phillies were taken back a bit when Ed Wade took Santana over Castro. The Phillies “lucked out” on Santana (they almost have to when they really do not compete much for talent from the most competitive baseball area in the world — Caribbean baseball-playing countries) and had a real prospect fall in their lap. Now they are signing Tocci. Good for them. With the changes coming in the draft, it may be late in the game, but they have started.
    The teams that sign great players do so because they scout them and pay for them. The Phillies know this. They have simply chosen to compete marginally in the market with the most valuable supply of talent in the world. A look at major league rosters will bear this out. I hope this signing signifies a new look at this important area of the baseball world for the Phillies.
    On a tangential topic, many people seem to misinterpret why players use both their father’s and mother’s surnames.
    Both surnames are used (the father’s first) because in the Spanish-speaking world your name carries your honor. Most industrialized Latin countries have dropped this practice although you still see it in Spain among the upper classes (which overdoes it with three to four generations listed in obituaries). Baseball has made many errors with names of players from Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, where many of our past favorite players have come, because their practice of using both names is different from here. It is just the way they do it. We should get it right.

    1. “It looks like the Phillies were taken back a bit when Ed Wade took Santana over Castro.”

      What makes you say this? Castro has been out for weeks, even before the Pence trade. Did the Phillies really think even Ed Wade would take the injured guy with the lower ceiling?

    2. This is so misinformed that there is too much to challenge/correct in one response. In a nutshell, the historical overview is that in the 1970s the Phillies invested in Latin player acquistion & development to the extent they overtook the Pirates, Giants, Astros, Dodgers to be by 1983 the most successful club in MLB in producing future all-stars–George Bell, Julio Franco, Juan Samuel, MVP RP Hernandez to name just a few….

      and then the Carpenters put the team in the fumbling hands of Bill Giles, who immediately made (as one of only many serious blunders) the decision to save money by pulling out of Latin America. When the dreary consequences made it evident even to the Monied Mainline Morons who financed Giles management, the Phillies began modestly in the mid-1990s to scout occasionally in the DR & other Latin nations. A few years later, the Phillies joined in a coop team in the DSL & then soon opened their own small “academY”, then eventually built their own playing & training facilities by the end of the Century. At the same time, they made their entry into Venezuela, first sharing a coop team playing at different facilities year to year.

      Beginning about a decade ago the Phillies built their own extensive, expensive facilities AND academies, first in the DR, then in Venezuela, with innovative instruction, health & dental care, etc beyond just baseball instruction alone. And then staffed their Latin operations with on-site scouting & development coaching & support staff that is as good as you can find for any MLB club–comparable to the best in the Dominican, superior to the few other MLB clubs that still operate clubs or academies in Venezuela.

      Even more than in most business enterprises, a start-up like the Phillies have had to make (playing catch-up in the aftermath of Giles’ blundering withdrawal) is a very slow process at best. Finding sources of raw material takes more time than creating a market for goods & services. You hve to find the site. You have to find local expertise. You have to acclimate & gain acceptance. You have to make the contacts. You have to gain the trust of coaches, operators, etc. You have to endure the slow, delicate process of winowing out until you have scouts who “fit” the local situation & can win the regard of player’s families & communities as well as judge accurately the potential physical, etc development of young adolescents in another culture. You have to build the organization year-by-year, building networks & relationships, slowly gaining access to better prospects, then blending them into eventually winning teams in the DSL/VSL.

      And once you have gotten to the point that you (like the Phillies now) are sending 15 or more kids stateside from the DSL & VSL to the GCL or PONY League farm teams, you stilll have normally about five years of further minor league development before the player(s) arrives at CBP or some other major league destination.

      Actually it is quite impressive that 15 players signed since the Phillies renewed their operations in Latin America roughly 15 years ago have made the majors–half of them significant contributors. Currently there are nearly 50 Latin signees playing in the Phillies farm system, at least 20 of them with possible MLB futures. Any informed list of top 30 prospects in the organization is comprised at least one-third of Latin kids; any top ten list now should have Valle, Galvis, C Hernandez (three of the half-dozen prized farm hands who will NOT be traded–along with May, Biddle, Aumont–as the eventual successors to Riz, Rollins, Utley).

      1. I wish the Phillies would have sent and kept Bill Giles to Antartica or Siberia to scout players.

  15. This is probably a dumb question but what happens when a 15 year-old LA prospect is signed to play baseball by an American Team? I mean, what do they do about his education and all that crap that would not allow 15 year-olds within our borders to be signed in the same manner? It’s all kind of weird to me…

    1. It’s a good point and I know what you mean. It’s a little like having a product manufactured in a foreign country when you know that the manufacturer would be in violation of American child labor or OSHA laws. I am sure they must mitigate this to some degree, but I am not sure how.

    2. That’s part of the reason these kids ususally stay in their home country for a couple of years before being brought to America. Most teams also have (or share) academies in these countries that are there (in part) to help prepare these kids for the transition. It is quite a culture shock for a 17/18 year old from Latin America to suddenly land in Florida as a professional baseball player.

      1. On a ‘365’ report on CSN they examined the DomRep baseball ‘factory’ and the ‘buscones’ and the kids. I believe they stated that a kid must be 16 before he can be signed by the MLB club. Prior to that —from 13 to 15 years old—he belongs to the ‘buscones’ who ensure they are housed and fed and continue to play ball to hone their skills..

  16. Let’s say Carlos hits like Ted Williams reincarnated at age 16… could he come to the US and play in the minor leagues? I don’t see how that could possibly fly – Bryce Harper had to graduate early and play a year of JuCo ball before he could get drafted. Catch 22 nailed it with his analogy… it just feels a little dirty and I don’t know how it’s not a violation of some labor law.

    1. Harper wasn’t stopped by labor laws but rather by the rules set-up for the major league draft regarding player age. A professional baseball player wouldn’t be any different than a child actor or singer in regards to their ability to work.

    2. It is not really that bad. 16-year-olds signed cannot play till next year, so the youngest players in GCL or the complex leagues are 16 and 3/4 years old roughly. This is only about a year younger than U.S. high school players and they may not have great high schools to go to locally. For U.S. players they need to graduate high school, have their class graduate, or get an equivalency degree (what Harper did).

      Is it great that Latin American players sign at 16 and could play shortly before they are 17? Probably not. I would push the signing date back a year. But then MLB would need to find complexes for these kids to play in so they can get away from the buscones. There is not really a great solution either way. Signing these kids early is what the kids want, and it may put them in a situation with better instruction, education, nutrition, safety, and stability than they would otherwise have.

      1. The ‘buscones’ may appear to be money grabbing ‘agents’ getting their 30% or so on the signing bonus—-but they are a needed commodity for these kids. Juan Marichal endorses their need since the kids at 13 and 14 years old are from poor backgrounds, for the most part and the ‘buscones’ provide life’s necessities,to some degree, for these kids, plus hone their baseball skills in the sandlot leagues. The parents sign over their kids future baseball careers to the ‘buscones’..

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