As I mentioned yesterday, I'm in the process of trying to catch up on the Orioles who have debuted over the past month. Up next is Jairo Asencio, who was traded to the organization from the Brewers late in Spring Training 2013, of course after my autograph trip was already over, so I didn't have an autograph of his waiting to slide into my collection.
Jairo Asencio #957, Debuted July 12 against Blue Jays
OK, I will start with the most obvious question about this card/autograph that pictures someone named Luis Valdez. You might ask, what does this have to do with Jairo Asencio? Well, since Jairo is a relatively fringe MLB player, let me ask if you are familiar with the Fausto Carmona/Roberto Hernandez fake name/age situation? If so, then just know that the same situation occurred here. If you still don't know what I'm talking about, here is a quick rundown.
In recent years, a number of baseball players from the Caribbean Islands (specifically the Dominican Republic) have signed contracts under fake names, generally to seem younger than they actually are to increase the bonus money they receive when they signed with an MLB organization. Well, MLB teams were being duped out of money with these deceptions, and the US Government doesn't generally approve of people entering America with falsified documentation. So there has been a crackdown on this in recent years, and while it still occurs, most of the offenders are generally found out at some point along the way.
So, essentially, Luis Valdez = Jairo Asencio.
"Luis" made his MLB debut in 2009 for the Braves before MLB discovered his name discrepancy in 2010. He missed the entire 2010 season as he got his paperwork straightened out, and has pitched under his actual name since 2011 for the Braves, Indians, Cubs, and now, Orioles.
Since this is an autograph blog, my interest in all this (and presumably yours as well) centers around Luis/Jairo's autograph. Assuming that both of these signatures are authentic, it seems like regardless of the name he doesn't have much going in terms of penmanship. The Valdez card up top is on its way to my collection while this Asencio signed photo is available on ebay.
It's honestly hard to say if he is more used to signing his name as Valdez or Asencio but from my standpoint, the Valdez signature seems more fluid, though it's hard to say when this Braves photo was signed. It could have been recently after his return to being Jairo, who knows? I hope to someday soon, have my own in-person autograph of his to add some additional insight to this discussion. I'm also a bit torn about whether having an autograph of "Luis" should be considered the same as having an autograph of Jairo, but I've come to the conclusion that if he signed it, I will include it in my collection, regardless of the name listed.
But for now, Jairo is once again pitching for AAA Norfolk, after four appearances and a 7.71 ERA over his two week stint with the Orioles.