First of all, the Baseball Writers Association of America today announced the three finalists for each of their awards, with the winners to be announced next week.
The upshot is that Felix Hernandez, at one point the Cy Young favorite, won’t be winning the award for the second time. The finalists are Justin Verlander, David Price and Jered Weaver. Frankly, I can’t argue with this list (and I had a vote this year). Hernandez’s chances pretty much evaporated during a six-start stretch to end the season in which he went 0-4 with a 6.62 earned-run average.
Above is an artists rendering of the new Latin American Academy that the Mariners will build in the Dominican Republic.
The Mariners termed this a “major investment in international player development. The academy is scheduled to be completed near the end of 2013, and will be able to accomodate two full teams as well as managers, coaches and instructional staff.
For the past 10 years, the Mariners have rented a facility near where the new complex will go up, which is near the city of Boca Chica — about 30 miles east of the capital city of Santo Domingo. It will be a residental facility where the prospects will live, work out, go to school and practice baseball.”
“This is an investment in the Mariners future. Having state of the art facilities in the Dominican Republic will help not only with the training of our top Dominican prospects but with development and recruitment of talent from across Latin America,” said Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik in a statement.
The facility will cover 24 acres and include two full-sized field with room for a third; practice infield; agility field; lighted, covered batting cages; bullpen facilities with six pitchers’ mounds; dorm space for up to 80 players, coaches and trainers; dining hall; classrooms for English language and Spanish literacy instruction; computer lab and access to recreational activities on site.
“In the U.S., every prospect has his own training program. Down here (in the Dominican Republic), they don’t have that,” said Tim Kissner, the Mariners’ recently hired director of international operations. “At the academy, they’ll get the calories their bodies need to develop, they’ll have access to educational programs, including competency and literacy in their own language, and the 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 Dominican Republic has long been a hot-bed of baseball talent. They will become one of just a handful of teams that own their own complex there.