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Daily Box Score 7/2: Signing Periods, All-Star Voting, and Service Clocks

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Some clocks are starting, some clocks are tolling the end, and some are right in the thick of things. Deadlines, signing periods, ages, and career peaks are what you'll find in today's Daily Box Score.

First, today marks the beginning of the July 2nd international signing period.  It has already gotten off with a bang, as last night Jorge Arangure used Twitter to break the news that the Brewers had signed top Dominican outfielder Jose Alberto Peña. Just 16, Peña was highly sought-after by a number of teams.

Those ages can sometimes be deceiving. There was some suspicion that top prospect Miguel Sano might not be the young 16 he reported. These rumors turned out not to be true,  but they persist for nearly every young Latin American prospect.  Each isolated incident of age-falsification confirms the bias, as was the case when 17 year-old Indians SS Jose Osoria was found to be 20 year-old Indians SS Wally Bryan. But Keith Olbermann reminds us that it wasn't always just Latin talent that was guilty of chronological subterfuge.

In other international prospect news, top Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman, whom you probably last saw tossing 100-mph bullets in the World Baseball Classic, has defected from Cuba while playing in the Netherlands. R.J. profiled the 21 year-old left hander at Fangraphs in March. Keep following the July 2nd signing period, as today only marks the beginning.

Marking an end soon, however, is the All-Star voting.  You have mere hours to cast your ballots. If you'd like to cast a very nontraditional ballot, Hardball Cooperative offers up the bargain-bin All-Stars. Some surprising names make the list, including Nick Green, Delwyn Young, Russ Ortiz and Fernando Nieve. My question is: "Where in the love of Pete is Russell Branyan?" Similarly, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick looked at nine first-time All-Star hopefuls. Oh, there's Russell.

One clock that teams no longer have to worry about is the service time clock. But with Tim Lincecum looking like he very well might repeat as NL Cy Young winner, MLB Daily Dish wonders if the Giants didn't blunder by calling him up too soon, thus making him eligible for Super-2 status and a bigger payday. I say talent like that just wants to be unleashed, and you can worry about the money later. Nevertheless, an extra year of arbitration could end up costing the Giants millions of dollars. No one ever accused Brian Sabean of pinching pennies.

Those of us who like to point out inefficiencies and underutilized talents can sometimes forget just how good the very very good are. Take Albert Pujols, who over the last calendar year has 50 HR and 146 RBI. What's more, he's on pace to pass Roger Maris' 61 HR, the so-called "clean home run record." With 30 HR on July 1st, Pujols is one of only seven players to hit so many so early

And of course, we can't forget Johan Santana, who at just 30 years old still has plenty of gas left in the tank. Nicholas Zettel uses some recent and active leaderboards to remind us just how Pedroesque Johan has been. Oh, the change up!

Finally, if you're set to start the game that evening, you're late to the park, and you don't have a ride, what do you do? Call the opposing team's closer? Nah, he's on rehab sched, bro. How about the opposing team's starting pitcher for the evening--the man with whom you will be sharing the rubber? And so the odd story of the Scott Olsen-Ricky Nolasco carpool was born. (via Joe Frisaro)