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After years of waiting, the Orioles’ new complex in the Dominican Republic is set to open on Tuesday. The complex was one of executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias’ priorities and its opening comes one day after the International Signing period begins.
The Orioles have made steady progress since Elias hired Koby Perez to head up their international scouting just after his November 2018 arrival.
While the international signings have yet to produce a major leaguer, it’s coming closer.
Catcher/first baseman Samuel Basallo, currently the team’s fifth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, was signed in January 2021 for $1.3 million, had an excellent year, starting at Single-A Delmarva and ending the season at Double-A Bowie.
It’s possible that Basallo could make the majors in 2024 and become the first homegrown product from the Dominican Republic to play for the team since infielder Pedro Florimon in 2011.
The Orioles have never produced a homegrown player from Venezuela.
According to MASNsports.com, the Orioles are expected to sign two top-shelf 16-year-old prospects from the Dominican Republic on Monday, shortstop Emilio Sanchez and outfielder Stiven Martinez.
Sanchez is expected to receive just over $1 million and Martinez just under a million. The Orioles are also expected to sign a 16-year-old switch-hitting shortstop, Elvin Garcia.
The current top 30 Orioles prospect list, as reported by MLB Pipeline, is populated by several Latin American players.
Outfielder Breylin Tavara (15th) shortstop Leandro Arias (18th), shortstop Frederick Bencosme (23rd), shortstop Luis Almeyda (25th), and left-handed pitcher Luis De Leon (26th) have all been signed by Perez.
The opening of the complex in Guerra, about 23 miles from the Santo Domingo airport, is a huge event, not only for the Orioles but for the baseball-crazed island nation.
Dominican president Luis Abinader and Vice minister of Sports Elvis Duarte are scheduled to attend, as is former major leaguer Junior Noboa, the Dominican Republic’s commissioner of baseball. Elias and Perex also will attend.
“This academy is the culmination of years of hard work by so many people, and I am grateful to everyone who made this a reality,” Elias said. “For the last several years, one of the main goals of our partnership group and front office has been to excel in Latin America, and I am very pleased by what we as an organization, led by Koby Perez, have accomplished in this sector. This grand opening marks another major milestone in scouting and player development that will keep our minor league pipeline flowing and preserve winning baseball in Baltimore for years to come.”
The Orioles say that the 22.5-acre complex will have three full fields, a sports turf agility field, batting and pitching tunnels, and educational facilities. The complex will house 100 players and coaches and feature dormitory-style housing.
“I am incredibly proud to say that the Baltimore Orioles now have one of finest training facilities in the Dominican Republic,” Perez said. “The impact this complex will have on the future success of the Orioles, and the young players that we recruit and sign, is immeasurable. Having a state-of-the-art facility will not only allow us to continue to attract top international talent to the organization but will also allow us to teach them valuable life skills off the field that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.”
Current Orioles Félix Bautista and Jorge Mateo will attend along with former Oriole greats Vladimir Guerrero Sr., Nelson Cruz, Melvin Mora and Miguel Tejada.
Other former Orioles scheduled to attend are Hanser Alberto, Daniel Cabrera and Radhames Liz.
Notes: According to BetOnline, the Orioles over/under total for wins in 2024 is 87 ½. That’s second in the American League East to the New York Yankees’ 93 ½ and fourth in the American League.
Here are what the Orioles’ arbitration-eligible players are requesting and what the Orioles are offering:
Austin Hays asking for $6.3 million, Orioles offering $5.85 million.
Ryan O’Hearn asking for $ 3.8 million, Orioles offering $3.2 million.
Danny Coulombe asking for $2.4 million, Orioles offering $2.2 million.
Cionel Pérez asking for $1.4 million, Orioles offering $1.1 million.
Jacob Webb asking for $1 million, Orioles offering $925,000.
RAVENS LINKS FROM BALTIMORESPORTS.COM