The New York Times is reporting the use of DNA testing by Major League Baseball on some Latin American prospects and their families. According to a written statement from the MLB office, DNA testing was used in the Dominican Republic “in very rare instances, and only on a consensual basis to deal with the identity fraud problem that the league faces in that country.” An MLB spokesman declined to say how many prospects have been tested.
In recent years, a number of Latin prospects have been found to be older than they claimed upon signing with Major League teams, some of whom received fairly large bonuses. According to the Times, some experts and at least one scout raised the possibility that DNA testing could also be used to predict a player’s medical future, and that baseball’s use of such information has alarmed genetics and bioethics professionals.
One of the hottest unsigned prospects in the Dominican, shortstop Miguel Sano, underwent a DNA test and a bone scan to verify that he is, indeed, 16 years old.