In a recent article by Peter Gammons, the learning curve from players from Curacao and Aruba were discussed.
Hensley Meulens is now a Giants coach. He was born in Curacao, got to the Yankees in his sixth professional season, and in the last two World Baseball Classics has been the coach of the Dutch team, heavily stocked with players from the two islands. He has coached in other world tournaments.
“It’s completely different for kids from Curacao and Aruba,” says Meulens. “As kids, they play ten or eleven little league games. Their high school seasons are very short. They play about 30 games in the summer, maybe 40 if they’re lucky.
“Compare that with the games kids in the States play as teenagers,” says Meulens. “These showcase kids, between high school and the circuits and the showcases play up to 100 games a year. Dominican and Venezuelan kids play games every day. You learn situations by playing games. It isn’t a classroom education. It’s not something you learn on a laptop, you learn by playing. A player going into the draft (think Dansby Swanson) plays hundreds of high school and summer league games, go to college and play on the highest level (SEC Tourney to the College World series), they play on Team USA (and The Cape)…and have no social adjustments.”
The article’s main point is in line with some thoughts I have had on the changing aging curve. It would be interesting to get a list of player who started full-time baseball later in life and how they age.