The 2022 international signing period brought 16 new prospects to the Los Angeles Angels organization, including two ranked in the top 50 by MLB Pipeline. The Angels had $5.179 million of bonus pool money for international signings and used it mostly on players from countries with a long history of producing top talent.
Of the prospects across MLB, teams spent around $43.4 million on signing players from the Dominican Republic, $35.5 million on Venezuelan-born players, and $15.6 million on prospects from Cuba. Just below Colombia at $2.5 million on the list was the Bahamas, with just one player who signed with the San Francisco Giants for $2.2 million.
However, the Angels are well represented with Bahamian-born players after signing D’Shawn Knowles and Trent Deveaux in 2017, and L.A. most recently signed Kristin Munroe during the 2021 international signing period.
Only nine players from the Bahamas have made it to the big league level, and these three friends from Nassau aim to add to that total, via Sam Blum of The Athletic:
Knowles, Deveaux and Munroe are all working to make their country proud by validating the growth of baseball in a small country with huge potential.
“I could see the Bahamas honestly being a powerhouse,” Deveaux said. “When you see someone open his eyes and go, ‘Wow.’ Their response is like, ‘Oh, he’s probably from the Bahamas.’”
Jazz Chisholm of the Miami Marlins is the last player from the Bahamas to debut in MLB, and it was over five years prior to him that a player from the Bahamas debuted. But considering the Angels have a trio all in the realm of coming up if all things go well, the baseball world might begin to see the talent that is blossoming:
“People don’t know (about us) because we’re from such a small island,” Munroe said. “I think as we start to play more, as we get more exposure, more talent will come from the Bahamas. … People didn’t think Bahamians could play baseball. But now we have the publicity.”
Being a nation that is severely underrepresented in the baseball world, they lack the same academies and eyes on their talent in contrast to the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, and Cuba, which results in fewer MLB teams willing to lend a financial hand in developing talent where there hasn’t yet been a history of success:
“We could never do anything because we never had any money,” Knowles said. “… We never could buy anything we wanted. Me and my twin brother, we took that as motivation. We just put our head down, kept working. God blessed us with the contracts.”
The issue for the Bahamas has never been talent. The country has a great baseball climate. The hindrance has been access to training and player development. As that grows, finding players like Knowles — talented and driven, but lacking means — becomes more possible.
All three have their own paths to MLB, and there won’t be a ‘one size fits all’ for them. They represent their country and themselves, and both can be of the utmost importance for the youth still in the Bahamas who could benefit from the success of Knowles, Deveaux, and Munroe.
Jaime Barria happy to do whatever helps the Angels
The Angels are searching for some overall consistency from their team as a whole, but Jaime Barria has been a valuable piece in their bullpen this year.
Coming into the year, Barria’s role with the Angels was a bit unclear with former manager Joe Maddon having what was thought to be a full five-man rotation. That meant that Barria would be relegated to the bullpen after starting 11 games for L.A. last season, and 55 in his five seasons with the team.
The 25-year-old has shined in the long-man spot he has taken over for the Angels with a 2.81 ERA over 32 innings. The right-hander hasn’t been utilized as much as some of their setup relievers, but he said he doesn’t care how he is utilized as long as it helps the team.