The Arizona Diamondbacks hosted a groundbreaking ceremony today at their new academy, "Las Américas" in the Dominican Republic in front of numerous dignitaries including the country's president, Danilo Medina Sanchez. The multi-million dollar complex will feature state-of-the-art facilities on and off the field for the team's prospects and is expected
The Arizona Diamondbacks hosted a groundbreaking ceremony today at their new academy, "Las Américas" in the Dominican Republic in front of numerous dignitaries including the country's president, Danilo Medina Sanchez. The multi-million dollar complex will feature state-of-the-art facilities on and off the field for the team's prospects and is expected to be fully operational for the 2020 Dominican Summer League season.
"This investment from our ownership group ensures that we will have an incredible academy for our prospects that will focus on fostering relationships with teammates, healthy living habits, education and of course, state-of-the-art baseball facilities," said D-backs President & CEO Derrick Hall. "We look forward to the next generation of Latin American D-backs prospects learning the game here and developing into big leaguers both on and off the field."
The franchise's Latin American operations have been headed by Junior Noboa since the club's inception and the return to "Las Américas" marks a homecoming for the D-backs, who shared the same land with the Toronto Blue Jays and Colorado Rockies from 1996-2003. The new complex will feature three full fields, a half field, covered batting cages and an agility field and have the ability to house over 100 prospects, coaches and visiting staff. A classroom will be built on site to create the best learning environment for the team's education program, which was created in 2013 following a meeting between Hall and President Medina.
"Having a first-rate facility in the Dominican Republic is a critical part of our development process," said D-backs Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Hazen. "Nearly all of our prospects from Latin America will be impacted by this academy and we are excited to be able to create this from scratch while still returning to the organization's roots in Las Américas."
Today's ceremony was attended by President Medina as well as the Mayor of Boca Chica. D-backs legend Luis González, who serves as Special Assistant to the President & CEO, was also in attendance as was former D-backs catcher Miguel Montero, who played on the same fields where the new academy is being built after signing out of Venezuela in 2001.
Among the teams who have trained on these grounds are the Blue Jays, Rockies, Cardinals, Nationals, Indians, Twins and Dodgers. Notable players who have played there include Montero, José Valverde, Vicente Padilla, Jorge De La Rosa, Ubaldo Jimenez, Jhoulys Chacín, José Ramírez, Danny Salazar, Jesús Aguilar, Héctor Rondon and Pedro Strop.
The local project manager in the Dominican Republic is Ingasa, led by Jaime González, while the D-backs are working with San Francisco-based architect jones | haydu, which was established in 2004 by Hulett Jones and Paul Haydu and was responsible for designing the adjacent San Francisco Giants academy in the Dominican Republic. The two principals have extensive experience in residential, hospitality, academic, and cultural institutions while jones | haydu has received accolades for their designs from many institutions including local and state awards from the American Institute of Architects, and state and international awards from the IIDA.