Jose Bautista single handily won my fantasy roto league. I never would have known who he was if Pablo Sandoval weren’t underachieving so badly, but in May I became all too familiar with the Homerun Champ.
Bautista is using his elevated celebrity in a great way by recruiting Dominican players to come play college baseball in the states. Bautista who was recruited out of the Dominican Republic by his high school coach to play at Chipola in 2000, and ended up being drafted by the Pirates in the 20th round that June. Bautista was recruited due to the fact that he not only excelled on the field but in the classroom, and the new program he is setting up hopes to target the same type of student athletes not only from the Dominican Republic, but it also has hopes of expanding to other countries. He is currently working with the NCAA to place players with schools.
Much like how BYU, Utah and USC have tapped into the Samoan player pipeline in football, Bautista is looking to forge a way for players to find better opportunities in the United States. The most logical route for most of these players, like Bautista, would be the Community College route, and then on to either a 4-year University or to Major League Baseball.
Unlike Samoan football players who are exposed to the English language in their home country on a regular basis, I would assume that if a player from the Dominican is only familiar with Spanish that there wouldn’t be a great chance of going directly to a 4-year school, unless they play their High School baseball in the United States like Christian Colon (born in Puerto Rico). Regardless, it will be interesting to see how the initiative unfolds.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com wrote a full article on this which is available by clicking here.