Giants’ minor league prospect a murder suspect

According to a report by the San Jose Mercury News, Giants’ minor league prospect Angel Villalona is the prime suspect in the shooting death of a man in the Dominican Republic.

The news devastated Giants officials, who have invested significant time and money in the 19-year-old first baseman. Villalona’s $2.1 million bonus was a franchise record when the Giants signed him in 2006. He was considered one of baseball’s elite power-hitting prospects, and his signing signaled a shift in priorities to rebuild the farm system.

Dominican police told the Associated Press that Villalona turned himself in 12 hours after Mario Felix de Jesus Velete was fatally shot at a bar Saturday night in the coastal city of La Romana. Villalona will appear in court today and could face up to 20 years in prison.

Not sound insensitive after a man lost his life, but in keeping things related to sports this would be a massive blow to the Giants if Villalona were guilty of this crime. We’re talking about an organization that is completely devoid of hitting prospects outside of catcher Buster Posey and Villalona has drawn comparisons to Miguel Cabrera. (Outside of the fact that Villalona has shown little to no plate discipline so far in the minors.)

But let’s not jump to any conclusions. This could be a misunderstanding and Villalona had nothing to do with the shooting. We’ll have to wait for more details to emerge.

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Ten Predictions for the MLB second half

The second half of the 2009 MLB season has kicked off and with that, I’m going to make some predictions that are sure to be proved wrong in a couple months.

Feel free to whip out your crystal ball in the comments section but before you do, please do everyone a favor and take off your favorite team prescribed glasses and be objective for once in your life, will ya?

1. The Blue Jays will trade Halladay…to the Phillies.
Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi is reminding everyone who will listen that he doesn’t absolutely need to trade Roy Halladay – which he doesn’t. But the bottom line is that he’ll probably get more in return for the “Doc” this season than he would next when Halladay is set to become a free agent after the 2010 season. And despite Ricciardi stating that he’s open to trading Halladay within the division, he’s not stupid. He’s not going to trade Halladay to the Red Sox or Yankees and risk becoming public enemy No. 1 in the eyes of Jays fans for not only getting rid of their best and most popular player, but also trading him to a division rival in the process. In the end, I think Ricciardi will trade Halladay to an NL team and my guess is that it will be Philadelphia that will eventually puts a package together to acquire him. Although they might balk at the $7 million that’s remaining on Halladay’s contract, the Phillies are built to win now and need more starting pitching to make another run at a World Series. They also have enough appealing prospects to entice Ricciardi to make a deal.

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