The Toronto Blue Jays’ Roster Is A Perfect Example Of How Different Baseball Is in the Dominican Republic

Saturday November 24th, 2012

The Blue Jays have always had a great amount of success from drafting and trading for Dominican Republic born Players. From Damaso Garica, George Bell and Manny Lee, to Juan Guzman during the World Series teams. Now they have Jose Reyes, Edwin Encarnacion, Emilio Bonifacio , Melky Cabrera on the current roster-and some guy called Joey Bats all born from the DR.

Jake Dal Porto (Baseball Writer):

While it is nothing more than an observation, the Toronto Blue Jays are stacked with players from the Dominican Republic. Generally, baseball’s best players come from this small Caribbean, and with ten players from the Dominican Republic on their current roster, the trends favor the Blue Jays.

But the question is, why are players from that region so highly regarded?

Well, there are many reasons. From a more broad stand point, baseball in the Dominican Republic is a national passion, and the cream of the crop are playing baseball year-round.

Since baseball is essentially all kids have in terms of the selection of sports, the odds of elite players being produced out of that area are dramatically higher. Plus, there are just fewer distractions in general-no phones, TVs, and computers. A list of distractions could drag on for days, but the main point here is that players from the DR play baseball all day everyday.

Without a hard-working attitude, goals are certainly tough to achieve. Dominican Republicans are the definition of hard-working, however, mainly because that type of mindset is stapled into the minds of young children. It’s what they’re born with in simpler words. According to a report, Dominican Republican posses strong and looser arms than American due to their work-ethic.

And the coaching philosophy is predicated on strong fundamentals and mechanics, instead of pure athleticism. There are obviously exceptions to that rule, but for the most part, players who come out of the Dominican Republic are flawless fundamentally. The “new world” tactics, for example, are often avoided by coaches in the DR because they aren’t fundamentally sound.

Instead, it’s basically “see ball, hit ball.” There are few windows to over-analyze a pitcher with limited scouting reports and technology in that specific area. Americans on the other-hand have the advantage of these newly developed softwares to give them an edge of their opposition. Sometimes, too much information is the wrong path to take, though. So, a simple approach is commonly the most successful approach in the Dominican Republic. The results speak to themselves too, as two of baseball’s greatest players to ever toe the diamond in Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez are from the Dominican Republic.

The Blue Jays certainly can’t gauge their future success on this. Although, it’s interesting to see that the majority of their lineup is from the DR—Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, and Emilio Bonifacio. Toronto also has a few pitchers sprinkled in the group.

It would be far-fetched to assume that Toronto is building their roster around Dominican Republicans. It’s really just the luck of the draw, as the talent level of players have the most value. Usually, general managers don’t make decisions based on said player’s originality. That would be racist, but also be no better than tossing a coin. Ironically, though, the talent level of the Blue Jays’ Dominican Republican Players is pretty high. Again, that speaks to how different the baseball world is in the DR.

Are the Blue Jays going to win the American East because they have boatload of players from the Dominican Republic? No way. But it just goes to show how many solid players come from that area, and how many have united on the Blue Jays.

(*The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com*)

Jake Dal Porto is a Baseball Writer with MLB reports and a student from the Bay Area. Jake’s favorite sports moment was when the Giants won the World Series back in 2010. He loves to use sabermetrics in his work. He thinks they are the best way to show a player’s real success compared to the basic stats such as ERA, RBIs, and Wins. Jake also enjoys interacting and debating with his readers. Follow him on Twitter: 

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About Jake Dal Porto

Jake Dal Porto is a student from the Bay Area. He has followed Bay Area sports for years, and enjoys writing about the various Bay Area teams. He is an assistant editor at Golden Gate Sports, and the editor of Blue Man Hoop. If you need to contact Jake, email him: jakedalporto@gmail.com

Posted on November 24, 2012, in MLB Teams: Articles and Analysis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I am from Dominican Republic, and I want to add a couple of factors to the DR players successful. I tried to get a deal when I was a teen because I love baseball, any land in DR is become a field to play baseball in. I used to play in dangerous lands as diversion. We enjoyed to play in such conditions, it did not matter if we get injury during the game but we were happy. Without organization we formed team and played most of the time without gloves. We played two for two, three for three, four for four, etc., the main idea is get funny, enjoy the time, distraction. Is more funny to play baseball physically than using the play stations. Our target in the game was hit the ball, it does not matter how, but just hit the ball as strong as possible, and catch the ball as best as possible.
    When we realized that we had talent then we worked hard to get money. That is the second factor; most of the DR baseball players come from poor towns, because, when they discover they are talented players they start to work hard because that is the best way to get a better live. However, about 5% of all teens get signing a deal with a MLB team. For example, I played in the same team than Adrian Beltre, D’angelo Jimenez, Edison Volquez, Rafael Perez, Melky Cabrera and others, In our league we were about 90 players, but for that group only 5 get the MLB. Others signed deal but did not reach MLB.
    I knew a lot of players who were better than Adrian Beltre, but they highs were not enough to get attention of scouts and they never got a deal. because they were below 5’9″..
    In conclusion the main factors for DR baseball players are Diversion and Money.

    Regards

  2. Excellent article Jake. Next, you should delve into why so many Dominican players have been caught using PEDs. Apparently, getting noticed is a lot more difficult than one thinks, and therefore young players from the DR are using PEDs at early ages in order to build strength and impress scouts. Many believe that, despite the suspensions of Manny Ramirez, Melky Cabrera and others, it’s worth taking that risk if you get noticed and eventually sign with a big league club.
    Hola!
    Mark.

    • Thanks for the read and comment, Mark. You bring up some good points about PEDs, and that would definitely be an interesting topic to research. I’ll see what I can do. Thanks again!

  3. Great points. I have covered Dominican baseball specifically since 2009. And I never even considered the “less distractions” as a factor. But you are right on there. Nearly all the youth players I have known in the DR had no TV, computer, etc. They went to school in the morning and played ball in the afternoons and weekends.

    And great point about it being pretty arbitrary the Blue Jays getting all these Dominicans. In the 80s and 90s they had great infrastructure to sign a bunch of Dominicans as young players. They really got in the market ahead of a lot of teams. But the recent signing were kind of just luck that they happen to get a bunch of Dominicans through trades, etc.

    Nice job.

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