"For us, it's an outstanding experience," Canada head coach Greg Hamilton said. "It's good from a baseball perspective because the competition is real solid. It's a real growth experience on and off the field because our kids are miles and miles away from their comfort zones and they have come to have an appreciation for guys that will ultimately be their peers in professional baseball."
Canada's National Junior Team has been traveling to the Dominican Republic for competition since 2001. Major Leaguers Justin Morneau, Brett Lawrie, John Axford and Russell Martin are all former members of the team.
"We see this as another tool, a different setting where clubs can evaluate," said Joel Araujo, manager of Latin American game development for Major League Baseball. "Team Canada plays a lot of games throughout the year and they are pretty seasoned baseball players. It's different. It's something the players here are not used to but it will help them and help the clubs as far evaluating future players."
The doubleheader is the latest initiative in MLB's effort to provide a venue where clubs can evaluate unsigned prospects in the Dominican Republic. The MLB Prospect League was created in March.
"As far as the July 2 [eligible] players, we feel like we have some of the best players in the country playing in the league and these players have had so many at-bats and so many games that it's changing the landscape in terms of seeing international kids play," Araujo said. "The eligible players are also very good. There is a misnomer that you can only sign the 16-year-olds. That is not reality. The talent is not limited to July 2 players."
In February, MLB held the two-day Venezuela-Dominican Republic Showcase, which featured 25 prospects from each country. The prospects displayed their skills in front of more than 200 big league scouts in a series of drills. The teams played a six-inning game on the first day of the event and a doubleheader on the second day.
MLB previously held similar showcases in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic last year, but February's showcase was the first to combine players from the two countries on the same field.
In 2011, MLB created a tournament, known as El Torneo Supremo (The Supreme Tournament), for prospects on the island.
"Our role is a unique one. We are the regulating body but our job is to service the clubs and create scenarios that will help clubs," Araujo said. "We feel like we have been creating an environment with information more conducive to scouts, and the more information they have, the better decisions they should be making. It's been a big year, a ground-breaking year. We've done a lot of things we have not done in the past."