Brewers Announce Opening of Baseball Academy in the Dominican Republic
The Brewers have had one of the best Minor League systems for a number of years. It has been a priority from day one and that commitment began with owner Mark Attanasio. Building from the ground up and the “homegrown talent” concept has been important to the recent success of the team.
The Brewers today made another step to building that talent at an even earlier stage. The team announced a long-term partnership for a new baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. Located in Ramon Santana, San Pedro de Macoris, the organization’s new complex is owned by former Brewers closer Salomon Torres, who runs the day-to-day operations under his company Towers Corp. The announcement was made by Brewers Executive Vice President and General Manager Doug Melvin. The academy will develop players at the earliest stages of their professional careers in hopes of one day having them contribute to the Major League team.
Melvin along with Brewers Vice President – Assistant General Manager Gord Ash, Special Assistant to the General Manager/Baseball Operations Dan O’Brien, Director of Baseball Operations Tom Flanagan, Business Manager/Player Development and Minor League Operations Scott Martens, Director – Amateur Scouting Bruce Seid, Special Assistant to the General Manager/Director of Player Development/Training Center Reid Nichols and Coordinator of Latin American Scouting Fernando Arrango are at the facility today for the official grand opening.
“The Milwaukee Brewers are extremely excited to bring our player development programs to the San Pedro de Macoris area,” said Melvin. “Dan O’Brien and his staff along with our business partners, Salomon Torres of Towers Corp., have worked extremely hard in the planning and development of the facility, which will effectively provide our players with the care, housing, meals and education needed for their personal growth and development. The Brewers will also be providing the hotel and tourism industry of Dominican Republic with additional business as we continue to improve our involvement in Latin America.”
The training facility features two baseball fields, batting cages, bullpens, clubhouse, weight room, 13 rooms of housing, classrooms and a cafeteria. In addition to the organization’s commitment to the signing of young Latin Players and providing business to the Dominican Republic, two key components in the baseball academy involves local charity work by the organization and the continuing education of the rookie-level players with an emphasis on English and cultural training. The facility will be staffed full-time by Brewers personnel and will be a “one stop shop” for these developing players.
This past summer, the club took part in a community service project at a local school in Villa Mella to target the school’s major issues. Upgrades were made to the unsanitary conditions in the restrooms, the renewal and renovation of the school by painting the interior and exterior, improvements to the basketball court (the main recreation area) and to provide clean drinking water for the students and faculty.
Additionally, all players in the Dominican Republic Academy attend RBI English classes twice a week. The objective of these classes is to facilitate the cultural transition to a new country and to provide an easier learning environment once they reach the United States.
“This new academy will provide the Brewers with all the necessary ingredients to allow their Latin players to take their baseball skills to a new level, putting them in a position to become a big league player some day,” said Torres. “From the meals to the fields, we take care of everything in between so the Brewers scouts and personnel can concentrate on their most important task which is the development of these players.”
The rookie-level Dominican Summer League (DSL) Brewers will now be playing in the San Pedro de Macoris division against Dominican clubs from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays and Detroit Tigers. Last season, while playing in the Santo Domingo North division, the Brewers DSL team qualified for the postseason with a wild card berth after going 44-27 during the regular season. They dropped a best-of-three series against the DSL Orioles in the first round of the playoffs. Four players were selected as All-Stars during in 2011, including INF Orlando Arcia, C Deivi Mejia, RHP Gian Rizzo and RHP Carlos Sosa. Manager Nestor Corredor and athletic trainer Ken Johnson also participated in the DSL All-Star Game. In addition to the Dominican Summer League, the Brewers will also participate in a Winter League to go along with the normal training sessions at the academy.
Built in 2006, the club’s new baseball academy was previously affiliated with the Texas Rangers. Torres also owns two other complexes in the area, which are occupied by the Braves and Tigers.