In August 2006, the Giants signed the Dominican-born first baseman to a then team-record $2.1 million signing bonus, days after he celebrated his 16th birthday.
Villalona enjoyed great success in 2008, his first full professional season, smashing 17 home runs and 29 doubles for Low-A Augusta. He was widely considered the organization's top prospect, his only problem being a high strikeout rate (118 SO to 18 BB).
The following year, Villalona was hitting along a similar clip until he got into legal trouble. His home country announced he was the prime suspect of a murder investigation, which invariably cut his season short. Being suspected of murder immediately replaced lack of plate discipline as the primary obstacle between Villalona and the major leagues.
He subsequently spent some time in prison, pending a trial, but the process has been slow going since he was released in November 2009.
The story received added intrigue when authorities discovered Villalona's family attempted to bribe the victims to ask the judge to drop the case with a sum of $139,000. The prosecutor still intends to proceed with the case, however.
Villalona is not technically a high-bust candidate, since he's not exactly playing baseball right now. But the Giants still own his rights, and I thought he deserved at least a mention for his rather uncommon and extremely sticky dilemma.
If he can somehow escape from his current quagmire, Villalona would still have a legitimate shot at the major leagues. Only 20 years old, he still has a lot of potential left in him.