Commentary

The Brewers' Stunning Move

Why would a MLB franchise close their Dominican academy? And will it come back?

Originally Published: March 10, 2009
By Jorge Arangure Jr. | ESPN The Magazine

In the summer of 2003, Milwaukee Brewers executives noticed that many of their best Latin American prospects arrived to play in the United States almost as undeveloped as when they first joined the organization. Players who had been signed on raw talent—this is mostly the case since Dominican prospects rarely if ever play in any competitive games as teenagers—continued to be raw. Those projectable 16 year-old kids with long lean bodies and whip-like throwing motions continued to throw in the mid to upper 80 mph range. Hitters with strong wrists and great hand-eye coordination continued to show up unable to recognize the strike zone and without basic game instincts, two things they are supposed to learn at an academy.