Tom Ricketts has been a busy man. Late last week Ricketts was in the Dominican Republic to unveil plans for a brand new, one of kind facility. The 50 acre facility will be located in the town of La Gina, which is just outside of Santo Domingo, and very close to the airport. Just a few of the luxuries that Dominican ball players will have are a total of four fields, one of which being artificial turf. The academy will also be home to four batting cages, eight bullpens, a weight room, and two locker rooms. Rumor has it that the facility will also have a video room, which is a tremendous tool for not only scouting these players, but allowing this players to learn like major league ballplayers learn. Another solid feature of the academy is that it is almost laid out like a college. There is a cafeteria, a dormatory, meeting/class rooms, and has the capabilities to house 80 members including staff and players.
The Academy is expected to be up and running with 12-18 months, and that is not soon enough. The Cubs had widely been considered behind the rest of MLB when it came to scouting and signing Dominican talent. The past few years while it has gotten better, Starlin Castro is from there, they are still trailing their competition. The talent pool is ever growing in the DR, and not having representatives in the region is hurting the Cubs on the field. Ricketts said that will be no more saying that the Cubs “would have a very strong presence” in the Dominican. This facility will also be used as a tool in the development of Dominican prospects that the Cubs have signed. It falls in the line with what Theo has been saying all off season, once a player is in the organization they will be taught to play a certain way from the top of the organization to the bottom. It’s an exciting time for Cubs baseball on and off the field, and this is just another tremendous step forward in the building and development of a new “Cubs way.”
Here are a few renderings of the academy, enjoy.
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– George Cotugno