Hopefuls to get good look in Prospect twin bill

Hopefuls to get good look in Prospect twin bill

Hopefuls to get good look in Prospect twin bill
The international stars of the future will be on display at Estadio Quisqueya in the Dominican Republic's capital city of Santo Domingo this week when some of top amateur players from Canada and Latin America square off for two games at the historic stadium.

The first game of Thursday's day-night doubleheader, part of MLB's Prospect League, will feature players who are currently eligible to sign professional contracts. That will be followed by an all-star team of players who will become eligible on or after July 2 against the 18-and-under Canadian National Junior Team.

Among the players scheduled to play in the nightcap Thursday are Frandy De La Rosa, Juan Carlos Arias and Ronny Carvajal, who are all ranked in MLB.com's Top 20 International Prospects list. Also scheduled to play are shortstop Amed Rosario of the Dominican Republic and three from Canada: right-handers Ryan Kellogg and Cal Quantrill and right fielder Gareth Morgan. Quantrill is the son of former Major League pitcher Paul Quantrill.

"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."

Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.