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Major League Baseball and USA Baseball today announced the inaugural 'DREAM SERIES,' a special event to provide exposure and development opportunities for a diverse group of high school baseball pitchers and catchers from around the United States. The 'DREAM SERIES' is the first event in a chain of diversity-focused amateur development camps in 2017, joining the returning 'Breakthrough Series' and 'Elite Development Invitational,' which are all primarily designed to serve minority high school players throughout the country.
The camps, which are free for all participants, are hosted by Major League Baseball and various partners, including USA Baseball, USA Softball and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA).
The additional events in 2017 include Breakthrough Series baseball camps in Chicago, Illinois (June 20-25) with USA Baseball and the MLBPA, Compton, California (June 27-July 1) with USA Baseball, and Bradenton, Florida (June 27-July 1) with USA Baseball. For the second consecutive year, MLB and USA Softball will host a softball-specific Breakthrough Series camp, which will be held this year in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma from June 11 to 15. Also, from July 13 through August 2, MLB, USA Baseball, USA Sofball and the MLBPA will host the third annual Elite Development Invitational at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida. The event will serve more than 300 young baseball players and, for the first time, women's softball players in a "Spring Training" environment of on-field development and instruction.
These development camps will serve nearly 700 amateur youth baseball and softball players with diverse backgrounds who are selected by invitation. Activities at the events will focus on baseball and softball training from former Major League, Minor League and professional-level players and coaches. Additionally, staff from USA Baseball and USA Softball, particularly Sean Campbell (Sr. Director of Sport Development, USA Baseball; former San Diego Padres Scout and Minor Leaguer) and Destinee Martinez (Event Coordinator, USA Softball; former Team USA member and NCAA Women's College World Series Champion), will assist with instruction. Participants also will engage in mandatory study sessions as well as receive presentations on a variety of off-field topics geared toward preparing them for the next stages of their baseball and academic careers. As in previous years, a contingent of college recruiters and professional scouts are expected to attend and evaluate players who demonstrate potential, but may not have had the opportunity for exposure through other summer events.
The 'DREAM SERIES' will be held during Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend (Jan. 12-16) in Tempe, Arizona at the Tempe Diablo Major League Complex, which is the Spring Training home of the Los Angeles Angels. Participants will receive on-field development training from former Major League pitchers, catchers and hitters. Dave Stewart, Marvin Freeman, LaTroy Hawkins, Kenny Hill and Darren Oliver will serve as the camp's pitching coaches. Bob Didier, Charles Johnson and Lenny Webster will serve as the camp's catching coaches. Homer Bush and Marquis Grissom will serve as the camp's hitting coaches. Additionally, former Major League manager Jerry Manuel will serve as the camp's head field coordinator. Player evaluations will be led and compiled by former Minor League player, executive and scout Reggie Waller as well as Minnesota Twins professional scout Greg Orr. Tempe Diablo stadium staff, particularly athletic trainers and clubhouse personnel, will serve similar roles for the 'DREAM SERIES.' MLB staff overseeing the event include Senior Vice President of Youth Programs Tony Reagins (former Angels General Manager), Senior Director of Baseball Development Del Matthews and Vice President of Youth & Facility Development Darrell Miller (former Major League catcher).
Prospects participating in the inaugural DREAM SERIES are some of the most talented high school baseball prospects in the country, including Hunter Greene, who is MLB.com's #1 Draft prospect and is a long-time participant of the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, California. The participants were recommended by Major League Baseball, USA Baseball, MLB Youth Academies, the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program, the MLB Scouting Bureau, MLB Clubs and the MLB Players Association.
The expansion of the diversity-focused development camps now includes the 'DREAM SERIES' and the Elite Development Invitational. The effort began as a singular Breakthrough Series event in a joint effort by MLB and USA Baseball to promote baseball as a viable collegiate and professional option for youth from minority backgrounds. Established in 2008, the Breakthrough Series previously has been held at the MLB Youth Academy in Compton, California (2008-2009); USA Baseball's National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina (2010-2012); at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, and the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy in Houston, Texas (2013); and multiple locations in 2014-2016, including the P&G Cincinnati MLB Youth Academy.
Approximately 140 previous participants of the Breakthrough Series have been selected in the MLB Draft, including nearly 40 in 2015 and 2016 combined - the most-ever for Breakthrough Series alumni in a two-year span. Additionally, participants in previous Breakthrough Series events have committed to collegiate baseball programs such as Arizona State, University of Cincinnati, Florida State, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, UC Irvine, USC, San Diego State, Vanderbilt and more.