Latin American MLB Prospects Conceal Their Ages By Swapping Entire Families

Ben Badler at Baseball America has a fine story today describing age fraud among international prospects. The wise prodigies of Venezuela and the Dominican Republic have learned from the missteps of Leo Nunez/Juan Carlos Oviedo and Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez Heredia. (And the take-on-a-whole-new-identity plan that Oviedo and Hernandez used was itself a response to crackdowns on the fudge-the-birthdate plan used by Miguel Tejada and others.) They will beat MLB's DNA tests any way they can.

This is how they do things now:

According to international sources familiar with the process, however, trainers and others are developing even more elaborate schemes to beat the DNA test—a Version 2.0 of the Alvarez/Guzman model of deception. Instead of swapping the identity of only the player, now the swap involves multiple family members, with the mothers as the most crucial components.

So in addition to the player switching identities with a younger male, the mother of the player and the mother of the younger male also swap identities. When the player and his mother take a DNA test, they will match, of course. If the father is estranged from the mother and they were never married, the fathers don't even need to swap identities because the player already has his mother's surname. The family that gives up its identity is compensated for its cooperation. The families involved in these switches are likely to come from poor backgrounds, international sources said, in part because a player with a parent in a professional occupation like a banker, lawyer or professor would have to deal with more logistical issues swapping identities.

How postmodern! Identity is nothing but a social construct! I'm sensing a Don DeLillo pitch.

In Latin America, New Fraud Models Emerge To Combat DNA Tests [Baseball America]