MLB to host amateur tourney in Dominican Republic

MLB to host amateur tourney in Dominican Republic

MLB to host amateur tourney in Dominican Republic
Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that it will host a four-day tournament that will feature amateur teams from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and USA Baseball in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, starting Sunday.

The eight-game tournament, made up of two teams of eligible players from the DR, the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy and High School and the USA Baseball 15-and-under National Team, will start with a day-night doubleheader at Estadio Quisqueya.

"We are excited to bring together prospects from the Dominican Republic, the United States and Puerto Rico, just as we have in past ventures with players from Canada and Venezuela," said senior vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball Kim Ng in a press release.

It's already been a landmark year for MLB in its efforts to develop the game in Latin America.

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 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 March, the league created the MLB Prospect League for players eligible to sign professional contracts on July 2 and for older players who are already eligible. An All-Star team of MLB Prospect League players squared off against the 18-and-under Canadian National Junior Team at the end of league play.

"Everything we have done has been with the mindset to make it better for scouts to see guys in game action and help them make informed decisions," said manager of Latin American game development for MLB Joel Araujo. "The event offers a new setting that allows our clubs and scouts to compare players against different competition. For USA Baseball and Puerto Rico, it offers a different environment that can only help in their development. It also can show that baseball in Puerto Rico is strong and can only get better."

One hundred and twenty-six players have signed with Major League clubs since this year's international signing period began on July 2. That number includes this year's top Draft pick, Carlos Correa -- a graduate of the school in Puerto Rico that will participate in this year's tournament. In all, 25 players were picked from Puerto Rico this year. Four players were signed out of a Major League Baseball showcase in Puerto Rico a week after the Draft.

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