The Miami Marlins opened their new academy in the Dominican Republic on Friday, where they hope to develop talents such as current ace Sandy Alcántara, a candidate for the National League Cy Young award.
Sitting on 35 acres (14 hectares), the academy has three major league regulation playing fields, an area for agility drills, four tunnels for batting cages, a roofed set of six pitching mounds, a two-story administrative building and a residential complex.
The facilities are in Boca Chica, on the outskirts of the Dominican capital, where for years there have been academies of the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, Philadelphia Phillies and Colorado Rockies.
The opening came three days after Skip Schumaker, the St. Louis bench coach, was named manager of the Marlins, replacing Don Mattingly.
Schumaker’s arrival isn’t the only novelty in Miami.
Marlins owner Bruce Shreman confirmed reports that Oz Ocampo, an Astros executive in charge of successful international signings such as Dominicans Framber Valdez and Cristian Javier, Mexican Jose Urquidy and Cuban Yuli Gurriel, will be the new assistant to Kim Ng, the general manager of Miami.
Ocampo “has been extraordinarily successful with the Houston Astros. Well, he’s working now for the Miami Marlins,” Sherman told The Associated Press during the opening.
He said Miami is striving to improve its results. This season, the Marlins were 69-93, the 12th time they finished with a losing record in the last 13 years. The exception was 2020, when they went 31-29.
“It’s not just about one year. It’s about long term,” Sherman said.
Martin Adames is a writer for The Associate Press.