Major League Baseball has penalized a Venezuelan pitcher who had been falsely presenting himself as a 16-year-old prospect eligible to sign on July 2.
Gabriel Noguera, a lefthander who had been claiming to have been born on May 31, 1997, is ineligible to sign for with a major league team until April 26, 2014 for misrepresenting his age. Noguera, who is 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, had thrown two scoreless innings at MLB’s showcase in the Dominican Republic in January for top July 2 prospects.
Noguera had been training at Carlos Guillen’s academy until the age issue was discovered but is no longer with the program. Baseball America could not verify whether there is a different age that either Noguera has come forward with or that MLB has discovered.
Noguera is the second player who attended MLB’s January showcase who the commissioner’s office has penalized for using a false age. Last month, BA reported that a Dominican shortstop who had been presenting himself as 16-year-old Obispo Aybar had admitted that he was 19-year-old Cecilio Aybar and was declared ineligible to sign for one year.
While the majority of age fraud cases publicly reported have involved players born in the Dominican Republic, MLB has also caught several Venezuelan players using false ages. Sources familiar with how ages of players are manipulated believe that fraudulent documents are continuing to occur in countries outside of the Dominican Republic, such as Venezuela and Mexico.