The education of prospects has long been a dilemma for Major League Baseball. This issue only became more complicated when teams started to expand their operations internationally. Until recently teams generally had no formal educational component to the development of their players.
Slowly, the league and the teams have started to implement programs to educate their players in formal education, as well as off-field issues. At this point it is mainly language classes and some cultural orientation classes. Dominican baseball players are some of the most hard hit in this lack of education for several reasons.
Many Dominican players are signed before they even finish high school. Even if they remain in school, the primary and secondary educational systems in the Dominican Republic leave a lot to be desired. Lots young Dominicans discontinue their formal education after grade school and enter the workforce, whether they are playing baseball or not. So, it would not be uncommon for players to eschew schooling in favor of more baseball practice.
But, the fact is the majority of Dominican baseball players signed to an MLB team will not make the major leagues. So, some sort of education is very beneficial to the whole of Dominican baseball players in the teams Dominican baseball academies. Even if they make it to play in Major League Baseball, formal education will help them future in business transactions, etc.
The Dominican Republic and Major League Baseball just signed an agreement that will move this bar of education even further than it has been set in recent years. The new agreement includes Major League Baseball, the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Labour, the Dominican National Institute of Technical and Vocational Training, and the Cyber Park technology free zone.
The program will provide education for players in the Dominican baseball academies, and will create a registry of those enrolled in the academies. It will include English classes and other formal education, but also vocational training. It is a good step, and will give Dominican baseball players other options, should their baseball careers not work out.