Major League Baseball has caught another high-profile prospect from the Dominican Republic misrepresenting his age and identity.
MLB’s latest catch is Indians shortstop Jose Osoria, who signed for $575,000 last year on July 2. Indians assistant general manager John Mirabelli confirmed that Osoria’s real name is Wally Bryan and that Bryan is 20 years old, three years older than he had presented himself. Bryan ranked as Cleveland’s No. 30 prospect entering the season.
“We still like his ability,” Mirabelli said. “We still like his talent. I’m not going to try to pretend there’s not a difference between 17 and 20. There certainly is in terms of projection, but the fact of the matter is he isn’t who he said he was.”
Even though Bryan misrepresented his age and his identity, Mirabelli said that MLB has not suspended Bryan, who has been playing with the Indians’ Dominican Summer League club. However, given that Bryan already falsified his documents, it seems unlikely that he will be able to enter the United States any time soon.
Bryan passed his investigations last year, but he is one of many players MLB has been reinvestigating at the request of the U.S. Consulate in the wake of the Esmailyn Gonzalez/Carlos Alvarez scandal with the Nationals. Industry insiders believe the number of players under suspicion is at least 70 and expect several other recent Dominican signings to be caught soon as well. MLB already gave a one-year suspension to a Dominican third baseman formerly known as Jefri Pena, who signed with the Padres last August for $325,000, for misrepresenting his identity and shaving four years off of his age.