Marten Gasparini: The Forgotten Gem of the 2013 International Free Agent Class
By Alex Duvall
Marten Gasparini isn’t a name that is easily recognized among most KC Royals fans, but should definitely be on their radars in the coming years. On July 2nd of 2013, the Royals inked a 16-year old Italian shortstop to a $1.3 million deal (!!!). It was a signing that struck me as incredibly odd at the time, and ought to have caught the eye of any above average Royals fan. What on earth are the Royals spending $1.3 million on a 16-year old from Italy for?
To put this signing into perspective, two years prior the KC Royals signed Raul Mondesi Jr. for a $2 million bonus, and now Raul is the KC Royals top prospect.
Well, let me tell you what the Royals were doing on their Italian shopping spree: signing, “…the most promising European prospect ever,” according to Dick Kaegel of MLB.com (check out the rest of Kaegel’s 2013 story here).
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Honestly, from the scouting reports that I have read, Gasaparini sounds a whole lot like Raul Mondesi Jr., which should make Royals fans giddy. Gasaparini is incredibly athletic, switch hits, and was signed as a shortstop. Recently however, Gasparini has found himself starting in the outfield for the Lexington Legends, which would allow him to more easily find a spot on a big league roster that also contains the more talented Raul Mondesi Jr. So, what else is Marten Gasparini up to these days?
Two words: heating up. Over the course of his last 10 games, Marten Gasparini is hitting .409 including 6 hits and a home run in his last 10 at bats with the Royals Low-A affiliate Lexington Legends. Gasparini struggled a bit getting out of the gates in his age 20 season, but seems to be getting a long just fine as of late, which should really excite Royals fans.
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I don’t think Marten Gasparini will ever quite get the recognition as a top prospect like Raul Mondesi Jr. has, and maybe for good reason, but he is definitely a name that Royals fans should keep their eyes on as he continues to grow and develop. ETA: 2020 (also the first year Alex Gordon is not under contract).