How Do Thy Fix Y.I.?
Could lightning strike twice as Robins find a $10 million lottery ticket while dumpster diving.
Every year shortly after New Years day, teams all across the Brewster flex their financial muscle in what is known as the International Draft. It's an event where the best of the best young players from around the world get a chance to sign a BBA deal with the team of their choosing. Of course it's not that innocent in spirit. It's a cut throat process where the selection is most often rectified by a closed bid auction to secure a large signing bonus.
The Brooklyn Robins have largely steered clear of this process. It's a team philosophy that it's just a waste of money. Sure they have signed a player here and there. Mostly players in the deeper end of the pool who are cost effective. But they have yet to shell out top dollar offers to attract the big fish.
However, the Robins keep track of the comings and goings of said International finds. They have had great success in cashing in on other teams impatience. You need not look further then the Robins #2 starter Francisco Ruiz (10/6/4 Talents). Ruiz was given $231,000 by the Louisville Sluggers back in 2026. In 2028 without ever playing one game of professional ball, the Sluggers and their "genius" of a GM cut ties with the then 19 year old Dominican hurler. Brooklyn was quick to pick him up as their farm system lacked age appropriate depth.
It was not an instant success. Ruiz posted a 5.90 ERA in his first pro season. There were many lumps and bumps along the way. He didn't fully look like a BBA pitcher until his 6th season with the franchise. He was on the chopping block several times and offered up in trades as well. Luckily nobody wanted him. I can't say I blame them. He was a wild thing till he tweak his motion and learned to throw strikes.
Ruiz is probably the exception to the rule. But he is not alone. We've had multiple success stories with this approach. We are of the belief that if you are a young player, you are capable of coming back from any lump. It doesn't always happen. But it does.
So when the Robins saw the name Kwang-chih Ec (4/6/1 Talents) on the release wire, a light bulb immediately went off. Wasn't that the uber international prospect who signed for 8 figures and was involved in a couple of blockbuster trades? And he is only 19? And he is left handed? And he is free? There is no reason not to take a shot.
Sure, his ratings look like hot garbage right now. Ruiz looked like trash back in 2029 too. But maybe, just maybe if we invest the playing time in him, he'll be a high reward player. One can only hope. And if not, at least it didn't cost us $15 million to find out.