One of the hardest things to do in covering the minor leagues is to get a really good grip of what’s going on down in the Dominican. The Cubs currently have two rookie league squads, the Red and the Blue. They tend to play early in the morning from the beginning of June through somewhere towards the end of August. In total, they play a little over 70 games but none of them are televised nor are they on the radio. Once in a while, we might see a game on YouTube.
Over the past 10 years, things have changed greatly how some of us find out information about what’s going on in Boca Chica at the Cubs’ complex. It used to be that Facebook searches provided some pictures from time to time of certain players. But not everybody had a Facebook account as the app is not exactly conducive to today’s current teenagers, even in the Dominican. Nor is Twitter very popular south of the border.
Instead, what is totally changing everything in the past couple years has been Instagram. It seems to be the perfect mix of pictures and music for the players. They’re also able to post videos of themselves hitting and working out as well as show a little taste of the night life back at home.
As a result, Instagram is much more popular with the players in Latin America. For instance, I was able to follow almost every single player the Cubs signed back in the first week of international free agency. It helped me to get some physical descriptions of the players as many of them posted pictures of themselves in Cubs gear for quite a while on their accounts.
However, the biggest impact of Instagram is actually getting to see a video of them either playing in games or in showcases that we wouldn’t get normally. Just this week, Adan Sanchez posted some video and pictures in a “story” that pretty much summed up why the Cubs took him.
You can clearly see why the Cubs gave him $1.5 million as a signing bonus as Sanchez is pretty sturdily built, he has a nice smooth swing, and it looks like he could hit for average just as well as he could hit for power. What I really liked is he pretty much sprayed the ball all over the ballpark.
This Instagram trend is probably not going to be going away anytime soon.
Over the past year, we’ve gotten little previews of Pedro Ramirez, Moises Ballesteros, and Cristian Hernandez from videos they posted on Instagram.
As this year goes on, we’re still going to see a lot of things on Instagram that portend where a prospect is going to go just based on the location of where they post their content. We’re going to see well before extended spring training which prospects are going to be in Mesa and which are staying in Boca Chica.
I’m excited to see the content that several of the newer prospects post on Instagram in the coming months as spring training in Mesa is going to officially start on March 2 when players take physicals.
When the actual Dominican Summer League season begins in June, I’m wondering just how much content we’re going to see of the players with pictures of themselves in game action and if we’re gonna see video like we did last season.
It’s pretty cool to see that one little app is reshaping how we get informed about what an international prospect can do.