Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"How a child-molesting trainer and teenage steroid use has come to define Latin American baseball"

Most troubling is what multiple people familiar with the market called the “serial doping” of children. While performance-enhancing drug use has long been problematic among Latin American amateurs, the new collective-bargaining agreement between MLB and the MLB Players Association created a perverse incentive for buscones to dope children at younger and younger ages.

Rather than accede to an international draft, which the league was pushing, the union preferred a system in which teams are given a fixed dollar amount to spend on international players. While 16 is the youngest age at which a player can join a team, a majority of top prospects on this year’s July 2, the international amateur signing day, had agreed to a contract with a team when he was 14, according to five sources familiar with the market. Thus, with teams letting trainers know they were willing to lock in seven-figure signing bonuses at 14, it enticed them to present physically mature, imposing pre-teens – many of whom did not know what they were taking.

“Kids from the age of 11, 12 are on steroids,” said one agent who represents Latin American teenagers and requested anonymity out of fear buscones no longer would want to work with him. “Trainers who can’t afford the good stuff giving horse steroids to kids.