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Pump the Brakes

KevinMaitanMost professional baseball scouts agree that one prospect stands out among the rest in this year’s international free agent market. He stands 6’ 2” and weighs 205 lbs. He is a switch-hitting shortstop who can blast home runs out of MLB ballparks in any direction from both sides of the plate. He can run the 60 in 6.6 seconds. He has a good glove and a good arm. He is Venezuela’s Kevin Maitan, and he’s only 16 years old!

On July 2, when the next international free-agent signing period begins, the Braves will look to get the young slugger’s John Hancock. There are many teams who would like to sign this kid, but the Braves are the heavy favorite right now. They have been scouting him for more than a year, and he supposedly made a “handshake agreement” with the Braves a while back. Unfortunately, handshake agreements don’t always work out… just ask Jerry Maguire.

Braves fans should pump the brakes a little on Maitan because there is no guarantee that he will sign with the Bravos this summer. Until his signature is on the dotted line, he is not officially tied to any organization. It happens all the time in many different sports: One minute, a team is the heavy favorite to sign a free agent, then the next minute, the free agent signs with some other team who swooped in and made a better offer.

Furthermore, if he does in fact sign with the Braves on July 2, it really isn’t wise to expect him to become a superstar thereafter. Sure, pro scouts are comparing his game to that of a few superstars (such as Chipper Jones and Miguel Cabrera), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he will develop into anywhere near that caliber of player.

Braves fans should remain cautiously optimistic about Kevin Maitan’s future at this point. However, it is pretty hard not to get excited about what potentially could be if this talented youngster does indeed sign with the Bravos this summer. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens. In the meantime… try not to drool while watching tape on this kid.

He can do it lefty…

Or righty…

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