May 13, 2014, OTTAWA (ISN) – For the fourth consecutive year, the Junior National Team will conclude their annual tour of the Dominican Summer League by playing some of the top ‘July 2nd eligible’ prospects that the country has to offer.
Players outside of the three draft countries (Canada, Puerto Rico, United States) are eligible to sign with big-league clubs on or after July 2nd each year once they turn 16. Some of the top July 2nd eligible players will be at Estadio Quisqueya in Santo Domingo on Thursday, May 29th (7pm ET) to take-on the Junior National Team.
The Dominican team is assembled by Major League Baseball as a means to showcase top amateur talent to MLB scouts and personnel ahead of the July 2nd international signing date.
“This game against Team Canada has become a staple for the top July 2nd prospects of that current year,” says Joel Araujo, Manager/International Talent Development for Major League Baseball. “To participate in this game is sign that the player is considered one of the best prospects in the international market of that class.”
In 2013, Major League Baseball rolled out a line-up to face the Junior National Team that included Eloy Jimenez, who later signed with the Chicago Cubs for $2.8 million, the highest international bonus given out in 2013. Other participants in the game included Micker Adolfo (White Sox, $1.6 million), Rafael Devers (Red Sox, $1.5 million), Lewin Diaz (Twins, $1.4 million) and Luis Encarnacion (Phillies, $1 million).
Amed Rosario (Mets, $1.75 million) and Carlos Belen (Padres, $1 million) played in the 2012 game.
Araujo notes that Dominican players look forward to playing against the top (18U) Canadian players and thinks that this years contest will be no different.
“The prospects get very excited to play in the game and test their skills against an always very strong Canadian team,” he said. “This year we anticipate having some of the year’s best prospects participating as well.”
The Junior National Team will depart for the Dominican Republic on May 21st and play an eleven game schedule against MLB affiliated clubs from the Dominican Summer League. Opponents on the schedule include the Twins, Blue Jays, Brewers, Cubs, Royals, Rays, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Mariners and Rockies.
With the MLB First Year Player Draft scheduled for June 5-7, the tour will serve as an opportunity for draft-eligible players to showcase their abilities.
At the same time, the tour is also an important step in the evaluation/development process as the Junior National Team prepares for the COPABE 18U World Cup Qualifier scheduled for Lagos de Moreno, Mexico September 5th-14th.
You can receive live scores/updates from the Dominican Summer League tour by following@Team_C_Updates on Twitter.