The Dominican Prospect League is restructuring following the departure of three of its prominent trainers.
Amaury Nina, Enrique Soto and Astin Jacobo, three of the trainers in charge of managing the original four DPL teams, have left the league and formed the International Prospect League. Christian "El Niche" Batista will remain with the DPL.
Nina, Soto and Jacobo were in charge of managing the DPL teams in their areas and recruiting other trainers from their region to have their players participate in the league. In all, the DPL has featured players of around 50-60 trainers, according to Brian Mejia, a co-founder of the DPL with Ulises Cabrera.
The league had expanded from four to six teams, but Mejia said the DPL will consolidate to four teams, including two in the northern town of Santiago and two in Boca Chica, though the teams will include players assembled from all parts of the country.
The DPL had paused its schedule while a group of players from the league, including top outfielder Ronald Guzman, traveled to Florida and Arizona spring training complexes for workouts and games two weeks ago. The league resumed play yesterday and will continue playing games once per week on Wednesdays until the season ends on June 22.
"As far as trainers, the other guys are still on board and we're still taking their players." Mejia said. "We had 50, 60 scouts there yesterday. We're definitely in a better position, we'll have more control over rosters and things are going to run a lot smoother. We're going to be as efficient and organized as we ever were."
In the IPL, Nina (San Cristobal), Soto (Bani) and Jacobo (San Pedro de Macoris) will manage the four teams along with Javier Rodriguez (Santo Domingo), who trained Mariners shortstop Carlos Triunfel and his younger brother, Rangers shortstop Alberto Triunfel. The IPL will also play every Wednesday, beginning either April 6 or 13, according to Jacobo, who said the league will be similar to the DPL with another 20-25 trainers already on board to put their players in the league.
The IPL will include outfielder Elier Hernandez and righthander Manuel Gonzalez, both of whom train with Nina and are two of the top prospects for this year's July 2 international signing class. Along with its top prospects, Jacobo said the IPL will try to bring more exposure to kids who aren't high-profile players and bring in players from other Latin American countries.
"We want to keep giving those kids opportunities to play ball," said Jacobo, who has trained Mets second baseman Jordany Valdespin and Rockies righthander Esmil Rogers. "In the other league, one thing we were having problems with is they were more after the big-market guys. We need a combination of the two. We don't want to shy away from guys just because they don't have a big market. We want to change that and give the other kids a chance to see if they can make it. You give kids chances and they'll surprise."
The DPL began playing in the fall of 2009 and is in the middle of its second season. Since the league began playing, other trainer-organized leagues have sprouted up across the Dominican Republic, most notably the Dominican International League, which features players from Edgar Mercedes' Born To Play Academy, La Academia, the Arias and Goodman academy and Hugo Catrain. Jacobo said the IPL is hoping to have interleague games against the DIL as well at some point in the future.
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