Puerto Rico wins second straight DIBAT tourney over prospects from 9 visiting countries

IMG Academy represented United States, boasting potential 2024 first-rounder Franco

February 9th, 2024

Puerto Rico defended its title in the third annual DRD International Baseball Academies Tournament as the hosts took down the USA-IMG team with a 5-3 win in San Juan on Friday night.

The Puerto Rican team scored all five runs in the fifth inning after the USA-IMG team took a one-run lead in the bottom of the fourth. It also concluded a tournament in which Puerto Rico was never outscored -- its only loss came in a 4-4 game during the round-robin portion that Japan won on a hits tiebreaker.

The Czech Republic defeated Canada, 8-1, in the third place game earlier in the day.

The DIBAT tournament began Saturday in Puerto Rico with its largest field of amateur prospects yet. Ten countries and territories took part in the tournament, which was played at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan and Roberto Clemente Stadium in Carolina.

Amateur academies from around the world were split into two groups of five, with five days of round-robin play before the top two teams from each group went into a single-elimination tournament.

Group A included Australia, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Czech Republic. Group B included Aruba, Canada, the Dominican Republic (which won in 2022), Germany and the United States.

The United States are represented by IMG Academy out of Bradenton, Fla., one of the top programs in the nation. The school has produced six Major Leaguers in the last decade and 45 more professional players -- and more could be on the way.

Outfielder and left-handed pitcher Noah Franco, MLB Pipeline's No. 23 Draft prospect, highlights the talented IMG team. Outfielders Dean Moss (LSU commit) and Sean Gamble (Vanderbilt) figure to be top 2025 Draft prospects, and Duke commits Andre Modugno and Jayden Stroman (Marcus' younger brother) make up a strong left side of the infield.

Additionally, 2024 Draft prospects Aukai Kea (Vanderbilt) and Blake Larson (TCU) and underclassmen Dillon Moss (Stanford) and Kyler Meccage (uncommitted) are notable contributors.

Puerto Rico's team features most of the island's top youth players, many of whom could hear their names called in the 2024 MLB Draft. Catchers Iván Luciano, Gabriel Rosado and Ediel Rivera, along with outfielders Jan Reyes and Jaden Guzman, lead a team that beat Germany in last year's finals.