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When Prospects Go Bad

Of all the ways to lose a top prospects, organizations probably don't rank murder high on the list. Well, maybe the Giants should have given that possibility a little more creedence.

According to the Associated Press, Angel Villalona, a 19-year-old Dominican prospect who was given a $2.1 million signing bonus in 2006, has been charged with murder in connection with the Saturday night shooting death of a man named Mario Felix de Jesus Velete in La Romana, Dominican Republic.

That's right, a prospect that has been ranked as high as No. 3 overall in the Giants' system recently -- and was listed as the organization's top prospect in 2008, when he appeared in the mid-summer Futures Game -- may very well have killed another man in cold blood. Needless to say, whether Villalona is guilty or not, the charge stands to put a serious hold on the first baseman's baseball future.

If he is convicted, Villalona would face up to 20 years in prison, while the Giants are refusing to make any kind of a rash decision on the youngster, saying that they were "Disappointed," to learn that he was a murder suspect, and that they, "rust that the judicial process in the Dominican Republic will resolve the matter promptly and fairly."

The Ugueth Urbina case may come to mind when you hear of a Caribbean or Central American player and torture/murder, but this is clearly a very different case. There is no known motive for de Jesus Velete's death, but Villalona's simple involvement is troubling enough.

Can anyone else remember a similar case/situation with a team's top prospect? Yes, Matt Bush has been in plenty of legal trouble since being drafted No. 1 overall by the Padres, but he hasn't tried to kill anyone, right?

By Cameron Smith  |  September 22, 2009; 1:10 PM ET
Categories:  Giants  | Tags: Giants, crime, minor league baseball, minor leagues, murder, prospects  
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Next: Moment of Levity: The Big Picture


How about Kwame Brown's killing of the Wizard's chances at being great and finally having an awesome big man for years to come? That pick was highway robbery AND a murder, a double offense.

Posted by: CharlieF | September 22, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Charlie F that was hilarious; but I actually blame Jordan who screwed that pick up terribly.

Posted by: mjwies11 | September 22, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Not quite the same thing, but about four years ago the Cincinnati Reds had an outfielder regarded highly enough to be sent to the Arizona Fall League who was car-jacked and murdered. At the moment I don't recall the name but, IIRC, the team has named a minor league player recognition award for him.

Posted by: RSamson105 | September 22, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

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