Mariners Latin American Academy
The Mariners today announced that the organization is building an academy in the Dominican Republic that will have all the equipment, facilities and staff to train up to 80 top Latin prospects.
With the academy, the Mariners will be one of only a handful of MLB teams building and owning an academy in Latin America. The Mariners also rent a training facility in Venezuela.
The new academy will be located on 24 acres and will be a residential facility where prospects will live, workout, go to school and develop their baseball skills.
Tim Kissner, the Mariners new Director of International Operations, has spent the last 10 days in the Dominican meeting with academy staff and watching young prospects work out and play in games.
“What the players at the complex will get is so much better than what they have now,” said Kissner. “This will be a state of the art facility where the players will get all the calories and nutrition their bodies need, there will be educational programs in English and instruction to help them earn the equivalent of a GED, as well as training and coaching to develop and improve their baseball skills. When you combine all of this in a state-of-the-art facility, that’s when you will really see these kids take off and develop.”
The fact that it’s a live-in facility is important to help the players get the attention they need from coaches and staff.
“Transportation is difficult in the Dominican Republic. It can take 2-3 hours to travel 50 miles,” said Kissner. He added that it would be unrealistic to expect the players to travel hours in the morning to the facility, workout all day, then turn around and make the long trip home at night, only to do it all over again. “And most of them don’t have access to transportation, anyway,” said Kissner.
While all 30 Major League teams have instructional and Winter League teams in the Dominican, the Mariners are one of only a handful of teams investing in and owning an academy there.
“Many of these kids have had very little formal instruction. For them to have the chance to be around the coaches and their teammates, it maximizes their chances of developing into their full potential,” said Kissner.
That experience, says Kissner, also helps prepare the young players, athletically and culturally, for the day when they may be brought to the U.S. to begin their minor league careers.
The academy is being built near the city of Boca Chica, which is about 30 miles east of the capital city of Santo Domingo.
The facilities will include:
- Two full-sized fields with room to build a third field if needed
- Practice infield
- Agility field
- Lighted, covered batting cages
- Bullpen facilities with six pitcher’s mounds
- Dormitory space for up to 80 players, plus coaches and trainers
- Dining hall
- Classrooms for English language and Spanish literacy instruction
- Computer lab and access to recreational activities on site
Construction should be completed by the end of 2013.