Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 1/18/13
The second annual MLB Prospect International Showcase that began Wednesday morning not only displayed some of the most talented teens in Latin America, but it also hosted some of the biggest names in all of baseball, including former Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez. For two days, players (old and new), scouts and managers gathered in the Dominican Republic to see the future of baseball. According to MLB.com, these prospects hailed from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Colombia, Curacao, and Panama. But they weren’t only playing to impress the scouts who came from all 30 teams as they were also in the company of Martinez, Joe Torre, Kim Ng (MLB’s senior vice president of baseball operations) and Joel Araujo (manager of Latin American game development). The combination of all of these big names alongside young guys just trying to get signed this summer was a first in international scouting, but with the success of this showcase it surely won’t be the last. The two days were filled with sprints, defensive drills, batting practice, and they capped off the event with a scrimmage. Prior to the scrimmage though, former outfielder and current mayor of the city Raul Mondesi was honored alongside Martinez, Torre, Ng, and Araujo. Torre then threw out the first pitch to Martinez and the game was underway. The showcase drew in a crowd twice as big as last year, according to MLB.com, and with the positive feedback that was shown from everyone, especially Martinez, it is likely that next year will bring in even more people. Martinez reiterated the success of the event and described how times are changing when it comes to scouting and baseball. “This showcase is a great opportunity for the kids, even if they don’t get signed, because they are all being seen,” Martinez said. “It was totally different for players like me. We had to go to the academies and try out. You had to be spotted or maybe somebody takes you like my brother Ramon did with me. Now there is better scouting, better stadiums, better everything.” For Martinez, the experience was a chance to remember his roots and watch some of the most talented teens in Latin America. And for the prospects it was an amazing experience to hopefully jump start their careers and enjoy being near legends. “This has been an unforgettable experience,” said outfield prospect Eloy Jimenez. “I never thought I would be on the same field as Pedro Martinez and Joe Torre. It’s like a dream come true. The next dream is the big leagues and then the Hall of Fame.” Prospects can be signed beginning July 2 and the collective bargaining agreement allows each team to spend $2.9 million on the international market, without penalty, so many from the showcase are sure to be signed.
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