Mark Anderson, over at (Scout's) Tigtown.com, was kind enough to offer up a thumbnail sketch of the Liga Paralela, which runs concurrently with the LVBP season:
(Me)... I wonder if you could explain just what the Liga Paralela is. I've heard it described as a VZ minor leagues but how does it differ in both form and function from the VSL (other than time of year)? I've also heard that in terms of talent level, the LP is somewhere between the VSL and rookie ball. In terms of the players on the LP rosters, could you characterize their age/experience level generally? Just going out on a limb here, it seems that LP serves as a minor league for both MLB and LVBP. What say you?
(Mark) The LP originated as a minor league for the LVBP. Since they often "draft" guys so young, they wanted somewhere to have them play and develop. As it evolved a little more, teams like the Tigers started putting their own teams in the league. Many of their players will play in the LP if they are not playing for their home club in the LVBP.
The VSL is very similar, except it is purely affiliated players....guys under official contract to the MLB clubs. The LP often has local guys that may or may not be under contract, and the MLB teams may be utilizing young kids that they are working out and considering signing.
I think the talent varies throughout the course of the LP season. Early in the year, the MLB teams in the league are often simply using their VSL rosters....but as players who may have been stateside (and away from home) all year, go home and get some rest, they begin to join the LP rosters, which increases the overall talent level. In addition, some players will play for their home town team, before the more advanced minor leaguers or big leaguers begin playing for them, and when they do join, the young kids head over for more playing time in the LP.