Major League Baseball will launch a new league that will provide a neutral forum for Major League organizations and scouts to observe the top unsigned amateur players in the Dominican Republic, it was announced today.
In addition to featuring players that will become eligible to sign after July 2nd, the new league will also broaden its focus to include players who are already eligible to sign professional contracts.
Beginning today, the league will host games every Thursday, alternating weekly between current eligible players and unsigned players. All of the games will be played at various MLB Club academies located in the Dominican Republic.
The new league will also include an educational component for the participating players. In addition, the league's coaching staff will conduct periodic instructional clinics throughout the country for younger players as part of the league's outreach element. The entire initiative is part of MLB's continued commitment to the development of baseball in the Dominican Republic and Latin America.
"Major League Baseball is excited to begin its new prospect league in the Dominican Republic," said Kim Ng, Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations for Major League Baseball. "We believe that this new league will provide amateur players with an opportunity to showcase their talent, and we hope that by including educational and community-outreach components in their participation, we will also prepare these players for opportunities that go beyond the playing field."
The launch of the prospect league is the newest opportunity for MLB scouts to view top talent, following the Venezuela-Dominican Republic Showcase held in the Dominican Republic in early February.
Below is a schedule for the first four games of the league:
March 22, 2012 Tampa Bay Rays Academy Eligible Players
March 29, 2012 Toronto Blue Jays Academy July 2nd Eligible Players
April 12, 2012 Cincinnati Reds Academy Eligible Players
April 19, 2012 Washington Nationals Academy July 2nd Eligible Players