Flanny wrote a piece the other day about the Royals International Graduates. I wanted to go deeper and bring more attention to the effort the Royals put into making life better for their international kids.
The Royals understand the value of job skills and giving our international players a better chance at life after baseball. That’s why they have a program for international players to earn a high school diploma as well as a trade school to learn job skills that make them a desirable employee. Only about 1 in 3 international signings actually make it to the United States so they must have job skills and be employable. And to give you more perspective, less than 2 in 5 kids graduate from high school in the Dominican Republic. To give you a visual, here is a video the KC Star did on the Royals Dominican Academy. The video focuses on Yordano Ventura and his tryout but gives you an idea of what these guys go through.
I wrote more extensively last year about the Dominican Academy the Royals have and the programs they have in place. You can read more in depth information on their programs here and more about the players individual journeys here but just know the Royals teach computer skills, people skills, and service skills. They offer licenses and certifications in several areas as well in an effort to give their kids a leg up on the competition in the job market.
“We are hoping the education benefits the players,” Royals Director of Professional Development Jeff Diskin said. “Our goal is to show the players they have talents in other areas and to help them discover some of those talents.”
Major League Baseball holds a graduation ceremony for all their international graduates in which the Royals participate. They’ve kicked around the idea of having their own ceremony, but they love the energy the MLB event gives off and will again honor their graduates at a ceremony with their entire academy.
I’m a teacher. I believe in education. I believe it is a chance at freedom and opportunities that not everyone in the world enjoys. I really believe the Royals are doing a fantastic job in this area and are setting the bar for other teams. The Royals get it. I applaud what they do for their kids and how they push education. Great job Royals, keep pushing education.
Join me and Royals Farm as we congratulate and celebrate these young men for finishing their coursework, earning a diploma, and working toward a better future for themselves and their families. Great job guys!
Donato Auguste – Donato was released by the Royals in the fall, signed with the Cubs, and completed his coursework with the Royals and walked with them during the ceremony.
Kelvin Gonzalez – Kelvin was traded by the Royals to the Rangers last summer but finished his classes with the Royals and walked with them at the ceremony.
Rubendy Jaquez – Rubendy was named the Royals Academy Player of the Year in 2017 and the Surprise Player of the Year in 2018
Neyfi Marinez – Neyfi graduated with honors and scored the sixth highest score in all of baseball on the equivalency exam. He was also named Dominican Royals Team 2 Player of the Year.
Leandro Mendez – Leandro graduated with honors and score the fourth highest score in all of baseball on the equivalency exam.
Albert Valdez – Albert was released by the Royals but completed coursework with them, has since signed with the Tigers and walked with them at the ceremony.
Enrique Valdez – Enrique was the Dominican Royals 1 Player of the Year in 2018.