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MLB, the MLBPA announce the creation of the Puerto Rico Summer League

Jun 19, 2014, 3:20 PM EDT

Puerto Rico map

As far as the development of amateur baseball talent goes, Puerto Rico is caught in a weird no-man’s land.

Players from Puerto Rico are subject to the Major League draft, which, kills the incentive for teams and scouts to go there and develop teenage talent like they do in the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. I mean, why develop a kid if some other team can draft them?  At the same time, there is not enough wealth in Puerto Rico to support the sort of talent development which now rules in the United States and Canada (i.e. expensive youth leagues). Since the imposition of the draft in Puerto Rico in 1990, the once rich vein of talent heading from there to the big leagues has all but dried up.

Major League Baseball has been working on this problem for a while now. Chucking the draft there would help solve it, of course, but that’s not happening because MLB loves the draft. They have, however, done something in conjunction with the MLBPA and announced it today:

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association today formally announced the creation of the Puerto Rico Summer League, which began play on June 3 . . . The Puerto Rico Summer League is a joint initiative that MLB and the MLBPA created to support the collective commitment of both organizations to the development of youth baseball in Puerto Rico.  The newly-created league will give Puerto Rican players between the ages of 14 and 17 more opportunities to play baseball during the summer.

More chances to play means more time to develop and more opportunities to be seen by scouts. So, while this isn’t a cure-all, it’s a nice step.

  1. 2r2d - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Reblogged this on 2r2d and commented:
    Should be interesting.

  2. dondada10 - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    The draft has certainly hurt the overall level of talent in P.R. The increased popularity of basketball on the island, however, is probably what’s sapping a lot of the talent. They’re currently ranked 17th by FIBA, up two spots from last year. They’re even ahead of known basketball loving countries such as Italy.

  3. blacksables - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Why shouldn’t they be subject to the draft? They’re American citizens. Mississippi is pretty damn poor also, and those kids are subject to the draft.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 19, 2014 at 5:36 PM

      You didn’t pay attention while you were in school did you?

      • blacksables - Jun 19, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        That doesn’t make any sense, but I’m glad you’re true to form.

    • chuck2837 - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      citizens with no vote

      • blacksables - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:19 AM

        They vote for their governor, and they vote for their representatives to Congress. The reps might not have a vote in Congress, but they do have representation.

        They also have all the benefits of citizenship without having to pay income tax.

        I’m sorry, your point was?

  4. babyfarkmcgeezax - Jun 19, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    The Roberto Clemente Summer League

  5. grumpyoleman - Jun 19, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    Everyone should have to go through the draft.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 19, 2014 at 4:54 PM

      Why should they?

      • blacksables - Jun 19, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        Why shouldn’t they?

      • clydeserra - Jun 19, 2014 at 6:18 PM

        isn’t that how you got you job blacksables? after highschool a sweaty man had you fill out a form and Acme Insurance called your name in 23rd round?

        So now you have no freedom to move from you job to a better one? and they can fire you at anytime?

        Sound like a good use of our american freedoms(tm)

      • blacksables - Jun 19, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        Well, first off, I don’t, and never have, worked in the insurance field, so I’m not sure how your analogy applies here.

        Secondly, baseball players are free to sign with any league in the world. MLB is not the only league, and they do have a choice.

        If they choose MLB, then they play by their rules.

        If they don’t like those rules, they can go play in France, Taiwan, the Phillipines, all kinds of places.

        How is there freedom restricted when they have so many choices?

        Oh yeah, you think playing MLB is a god-given right.

      • blacksables - Jun 19, 2014 at 6:25 PM

        And please, leave your fantasies about sweaty men where they belong. In your mind, late at night, when you’re all alone.

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - Jun 19, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        Why shouldn’t they?

        The two of you made the comment that they should, so you should explain why you feel that way. However, considering your political comments in other threads, I’d assume you’d be more for a free market ideal (free agency) than the redistribution of assets (draft).

        Secondly, baseball players are free to sign with any league in the world. MLB is not the only league, and they do have a choice.

        I’m not sure if this is true for US born players. I think you are automatically entered into the draft, and if a team picks you they have your rights for year. And I believe all the other leagues adhere to those rights. You could renounce your citizenship, but that’s idiotic.

        It’s also besides the point. Why should sports be the one profession where an individual can’t choose their employer?

      • grumpyoleman - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:01 AM

        They are choosing their employer, MLB, there are plenty of other options like the McDonalds you work at and want $15 an hour for your services.

  6. jimmyt - Jun 20, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    It would be nice to see more African-Puerto Rican’s in the game.

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