Fourteen alumni from the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program were selected in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, which was completed yesterday after a total of 1,238 players were chosen in the 40 rounds and two compensation rounds. The selections included Milwaukee Brewers first round pick Victor Roache (28th overall), who is an alumnus of the Think Detroit PAL RBI league and joins CC Sabathia (1998 - CLE), Justin Upton (2005 - ARI), Ricky Romero (2005 - TOR) and James Loney (2002 - LAD), among other RBI alumni to be drafted in the first round.
Additional RBI alumni drafted in 2012 were Chase DeJong (Venice BGC/UYA, 2nd round, TOR); Justin Chigbogu (KCBGC RBI, 4th round, LAD); Bralin Jackson (KCBGC RBI, 5th round, TB); Zachary Bird (Mississippi RBI, 9th round, LAD); Ron Miller (Venice BGC/UYA, 10th round, MIA); Sean McAdams (Bradenton RBI, 14th round, BAL); Kevin Maxey (Venice BGC/UYA, 17th round, LAD); Blake Hickman (Chicago White Sox RBI, 20th round, CHI); Quintin Davis (Houston RBI, 20th round, LAA); Daniel Sweet (Mississippi RBI, 23rd round, CIN); Zackary Fields (Think Detroit PAL, 38th round, TEX); DeJohn Suber (Chicago White Sox RBI, 38th round, CHIW) and Jimmy Herget (Tampa RBI, 40th round, ATL).
"Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities has proven to be a terrific source of professional-level talent for the game over the years," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "Between today's stars and the hopeful young players selected in this year's draft, the program is steadily achieving the intended goal of giving ballplayers from underserved communities and diverse backgrounds the opportunities to succeed on the field as well as off."
Since the inception of the RBI program in 1989, MLB Clubs have drafted more than 200 RBI participants. Alumni currently on MLB rosters during the 2012 regular season include Carl Crawford (Boston Red Sox), Yovani Gallardo (Milwaukee Brewers), James Loney (Los Angeles Dodgers) James McDonald (Pittsburgh Pirates), Ricky Romero (Toronto Blue Jays), CC Sabathia (New York Yankees) Chris Young (Arizona Diamondbacks) and Justin Upton (Arizona Diamondbacks), among others.
"On behalf of the Los Angeles Dodgers and RBI alums everywhere, I want to congratulate those drafted and send them my best wishes as they keep their dream of becoming a Major Leaguer alive," said Loney, Dodgers first baseman and Houston RBI alumnus. "With hard work, determination and a strong will, each of them can achieve their dreams."
"I'd like to congratulate all players selected in this year's First-Year Player Draft, especially the fourteen RBI alumni," said McDonald, Pirates pitcher and LA RBI alumnus. "The RBI program was a special part of my life and it helped prepare me for the next step in my baseball career."
"My RBI experience was terrific. It provided me with an opportunity to grow my love of baseball as a child and play with other kids who enjoyed the game," said Gallardo, Brewers pitcher and Fort Worth (TX) RBI alumnus. "I am a supporter of RBI and am happy to see how it has grown over the years."
The first round of the draft featured the selection of seven African-American players, the most by total and percentage (7-of-31, 22.6%) since 1992, including Byron Buxton (2nd overall, MIN); Addison Russell (11th overall, OAK); Courtney Hawkins (13th overall, CWS); D.J. Davis (17th overall, TOR); Marcus Stroman (22nd overall, TOR); Roache (28th overall, MIL); and Lewis Brinson (29th overall, TEX).
The RBI program is a Major League Baseball youth initiative designed to provide opportunities to play baseball and softball, to encourage excellence and achievement in education and to teach the value of teamwork and other important life lessons to young people, ages 5 to 18, from underserved and urban communities. The RBI program is providing more than 200,000 boys and girls the opportunity to play baseball and softball in more than 300 programs established in more than 200 cities worldwide. MLB and all 30 Clubs have designated more than $30 million worth of resources to the RBI program, and all 30 Clubs support RBI leagues. For more information, please visit: www.MLB.com/rbi.