Tag Archive | "Dominican Baseball Guy"

2012 MLB All-Star Rosters Feature 8 Dominican Players

By Keith Winters

The 2012 MLB All-Star game roster were announced Sunday and there are eight Dominican players among the All-Star invitees.

Interesting that six out of the eight Dominican players featured in the All-Star game were voted in by the fans of starters. Out of 18 position starters on the NL and AL squad, that means that 33% of the starters in the All-Star game come from the Dominican Republic. This is a huge number, considering that 11% of MLB players are Dominican.

But, alas the overall number of total Dominicans on the 2012 MLB All-Star rosters is right at the percentage of Dominicans players in Major League Baseball. Eight of a total of around 70 players in the All-Star game are Dominican, which comes to 11%.

Four out of the nine position starters on the AL team are Dominican players, along with one pitcher:

  • Robinson Cano is starting for the third strait time and making his fourth appearance overall. He is from San Pedro de Macoris, Republica Dominicana.
  • Adrian Beltre is starting for the second strait year and is playing in his third strait All-Star game. Beltre is from the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo.
  • Jose Bautista set the all-time votes record last year, only to have that record broken by Josh Hamilton this year.  He is from Santo Domingo too.
  • David Ortiz is an All-Star for the eighth time, also from Santo Domingo.
  • Fernando Rodney is from Samana, Dominican Republic and is playing in his first All-Star game.

There are two Dominican starters and one Dominican reserve player on the NL squad:

  • Rafael Furcal made his third All-Star game in his thirteenth year in the bigs. Not surprising, considering he was named the Dominican Baseball Guy player of the week earlier this season. He is from Loma de Cabrera, Dominican Republic.
  • Melky Cabrera is from Santo Domingo and is appearing in his first mid-summer classic.
  • Starlin Castro will play in his second All-Star game in just his third big league season. He is from Monte Cristi, DR.
See all these top Dominican players and the rest of the MLB All-Stars July 10, 2012 on FOX.
Keith Winters, also known as the Dominican Baseball Guy, is a Latin contributor to BaseballdeWorld. You can find more of his work on his blog The Dominican Baseball GuyBe sure to  follow him on Twitter, and visit his Facebook page for more information.

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MLB: Miguel Tejada Ready to Play Ball

By Keith Winters

Miguel Tejada is ready to join an MLB team as soon as one comes calling.

The 37 year old Tejada is nearing the end of his MLB career, but should still have a couple good years left. He played in 91 games last year for the Giants. While his offensive output is down from his peak, he is still a very good fielder and can play three infield positions.

Adam Brush has been training with Tejada in Florida for several years. A former college player that is a National Strength and Conditioning Association certified trainer, Brush has worked with a number of big league players including Manny Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Ramon Hernandez, Luis Hernandez, Juan Rincon, and Ardolis Chapman. He is the owner of Five Tool Baseball Performance Training.

According to Brush, Tejada looks great and is ready to go.

“Miguel is a joy to work with. He absolutely loves the game of baseball, and playing the game is what he wants to do. He knows what it takes to play in the big leagues, and he knows that he can still produce at that MLB level,” Brush said through a phone call.

Continuing, Brush says, “I first worked with Miguel over five years and he looks as good as he ever has. He is taking over 200 ground balls and hitting four days a week. And we are doing baseball strength and conditioning work three times per week. He is working extremely hard, so that when he does get a phone call, he is ready to go.”

A native of the Dominican Republic, Tejada is a legend in his home country. He has played 15 seasons in the major leagues, but has actually played more years than that in the Dominican Winter League (LIDOM). Tejada is known as “the nation’s ball player” or “the patriot player” in his home country, due to his prowess on the field in LIDOM action and his ability to represent Dominican baseball through numerous avenues.

Adam Brush witnessed the love that Dominicans have for Tejada during a training trip to the Dominican Republic. They went to a LIDOM game one night.

Brush explains, “he stood up, got in the aisle to leave, and the entire stadium went crazy. There were people yelling his name, taking pictures with their cell phones. It was like a rock star. It blew me away because I had never seen anything like it in my life.”

“The Dominican baseball fans are absolutely unbelievable fans,” said Brush.

A career .286 hitter, Tejada has played in Oakland, Baltimore, Houston, San Diego, and San Francisco. He is a 6 time all-star and former MVP winner, so at the very least he is a great mentor for young players, especially Dominican players. Miguel is from Bani, Dominican Republic.

Keith Winters, also known as the Dominican Baseball Guy, is a Latin contributor to BaseballdeWorld. You can find more of his work on his blog The Dominican Baseball GuyBe sure to  follow him on Twitter, and visit his Facebook page for more information.

Posted in Latin America, MLBComments (0)

Interview: Raul Gonzalez – Assistant GM of the Estrellas Orientales

By Keith Winters

The Dominican Baseball Guy recently had the chance to interview Raul Gonzalez, assistant general manager of the Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Winter Baseball League.  The Estrellas had a great year this year, making it to the final series of the Dominican Winter Baseball League (LIDOM) before being eliminated.

The Estrellas are located in San Pedro de Macoris, the town that many consider to have the best baseball talent in the world.  It has been called the Mecca of Baseball and the Craddle of shortstops, due to all the shortstops that come from the city.  Alfredo Griffin, Alfonso Soriano, and Robinson Cano are some of the most famous players to come out of the city recently.

Raul is a great addition to the Estrellas staff.  He is highly knowledgeable and has experience working in the Major League Baseball office in the Dominican Republic, as well as in the Nationals organization in Washington D.C.   Raul has also worked with Licey Baseball Club in Santo Domingo.  Here is the transcript:

Assistant General Manager is an important position.  How did you get involved with the Estrellas at such a young age?  Are you a former baseball player?

  • Well it’s an interesting story: I started playing baseball when I was 7 years old.  After a long time playing and acquiring knowledge of the game I decided to stop playing at the age of 19.  My dream at that time was to get a full scholarship to play baseball in the states and receive a good education along with playing baseball.  It didn’t happen, but I got into law school in the Dominican Republic and things started happening.  I met Mr. Juan Puello Herrera who is the commissioner for Caribbean baseball and he valued the persistence that I had in entering the baseball world.  He recommended me for an internship in the Major League Baseball office in Dominican Republic.  After I did my internship, he recommended me for a baseball operations internship with Licey Baseball Club of the Dominican Winter Baseball League (LIDOM).  I learned a lot from different baseball people, but I also discovered Dominican baseball is not as easy as people think.  I had the honor of traveling to the states, specifically to Washington DC, and did a summer internship in baseball operations with the Washington Nationals organization.  I had a real learning process of how the big league world works, and I also matured a lot in the aspect of scouting, player development, stats, draft preparation, and creation of projects.  After that I came back to the Dominican Republic, and due to inconvenient circumstances I stoped working with Licey.  A couple of months later I joined Estrellas Baseball Club under the recommendation of Mr. Jose Mallen who is the team president.  He decided to give me an opportunity to be a member of his baseball operations staff.  The years have passed quickly, and I’m in my third season with Estrellas (first as a full time assistant general manager).  The success of the club has been something special due to all the hard work made by Mr. Eddy Toledo, general manager for the Estrellas, and the opportunity he has given me to be by his side learning in day-to-day operations.

What are your duties as Assistant GM?

  • The position consists of assisting the general manager in day-to-day baseball operations including the following: structure of the club, salary negotiations, hiring and releasing import players, evaluation of the whole staff and the club’s native players, preparation for the rookie draft, and the creation of a baseball project for every year.

In my opinion, and many others, San Pedro de Macoris has the most baseball talent in the world.  What is it like living and working with baseball in a city that people call the best baseball city in the world?

  • It’s a special feeling to wake up every day having a job like this one.  You see all the people in the streets asking you questions about the team, players and everything related with the structure of the organization. The fans are unique because they spend the whole year waiting for the season to start, talking about the history of the club, and hoping for a championship every day.  It’s a tough task to talk about breaking 43 years tradition of no championships, but it’s not impossible, and this season we have showed that we can do it when hard work is done.

Do people from the city follow players from San Pedro de Macoris more closely than other Dominican players?  Does everyone know which players are from San Pedro de Macoris?  Who are the most popular players from the city?

  • Yes everybody in the city follows the performance of the native players.  San Pedro De Macoris has a longtime tradition of producing big league shortstops (Alfredo Griffin, Manny Lee, Tony Fernandez, Manny Alexander).
  • Past players: Ricardo Carty, Alfredo Griffin, Rafael Ramirez, Rafael Batista, Tetelo Vargas, Silvano Quezada, Bell Arias.
  • Present players: Alfonso Soriano, Robinson Cano, Fernando Tatis, Johnny Cueto.

Is it important for the Estrellas to have players from San Pedro de Macoris?

  • It’s part of a longtime tradition that the team’s in the league have players from their respective regions, but the league has changed so much in the last few years that the rookie draft is a pool where you pick what we call the future of your franchise, and in some cases players that have the ability to make an instant impact on your club’s success.  Every year the rookie draft is held with the new Dominican players available from Mid Class A or higher with the condition of not being picked by another team before.

How does the city change during the baseball season?

  • It changes dramatically.  The streets change colors from everybody wearing different clothes, you start seeing the green shirts, hats and flags of the club, players posters, fans talking about the names of the imports that are coming and the dates in the season where the different players will start seeing action with the team. The people in the streets start talking about the team and they analyze the team with the others.

And how does it change when the Estrellas are in the playoffs and finals?

  • The whole town goes crazy, party every night, the stadium is sold out early in the morning, the fans and the press feel identified with their club, and they glorify and criticize the moves, players, games and staff every day.  There is an old phrase in San Pedro De Macoris that says, “Everybody has a PhD in baseball down here.”

The Estrellas have not won LIDOM since 1968.  Why?

  • Good question.  If you ask the town and the people that live here they will mention everything from curses to bad luck, but the reality is that the team has not established a front office and permanent coaching staff until now.  The results have been probed and now we can say that Estrellas has become a contender in the Dominican winter League.

What will it mean to the city if they can win the LIDOM title?  The champion teams are remembered forever right?

  • Yes they are, especially if they have so much time waiting for this opportunity.  This is maybe the most important moment in the fan’s life because of the time that has passed since going to a final series and having a contending team to a championship like they have now. This season will be remembered always because of the results and the comeback the team made during all year.

Keith Winters, also known as the Dominican Baseball Guy, is a Latin contributor to BaseballdeWorld. You can find more of his work on his blog The Dominican Baseball Guy. Be sure to  follow him on Twitter, and visit his Facebook page for more information.

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