A new league for amateur players has started in the Dominican Republic.
The National Prospect League, founded by four Dominican trainers, opened with its first game on Saturday and will continue to play games twice a week with amateur players from the Dominican Republic looking to sign with teams. The league's organizers include former scout Epy Guerrero, Felix Liriano, Franklyn Ferreira and Baltazar Mesa, who is the brother of former major league righthander Jose Mesa.
The four-team league will play every Tuesday and Saturday at Guerrero's complex in Santo Domingo. In addition to having players who are handled by the NPL's organizers, the league says it also has 20 other trainers to work with them along with recruiting from more than 40 little leagues in the country.
The NPL should be able to recruit some of the country's top players. Liriano, who was one of the trainers for Giants $2.1 million signing Angel Villalona in 2006, recently trained righthanders Simon Mercedes ($800,000) and Jose Almonte ($610,000), who both signed with the Red Sox this year, and also worked with Cubs righthander Juan Carlos Paniagua, who signed with the Cubs for $1.5 million this month. Ferreira trained Red Sox center fielder Manuel Margot, who signed for $800,000 last year, as well as outfielder Luis Payano, who signed with the Astros this year for $500,000.
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