Baseball Recruitment to HBCU Baseball Programs



By Michael Coker/Black College Nines


Puerto Rico’s top high school baseball prospects will take part in the 2015 Victor Pellot Excellence Tournament scheduled for April 29 through May 2 at Ydelfonso Sola Morales Stadium in Caguas, the island’s annual showcase event that takes place each year.

This tournament will bring together some of Puerto Rico’s most talented baseball prospects giving these players an opportunity to be seen by Major League Baseball and college recruitment.

Victor Pellot

The annual showcase in Caguas comprises the best draft-eligible or potential recruited players in Puerto Rico. According to tournament guidelines, players ages of 17 and 19 and “played in either baseball leagues on the island from Coliceba, Palomino, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy High School, Big League, Connie Mack, RBI and CABA will showcase their talents”.

To play in the Excellence Tournament, the players must be selected by criteria of the Puerto Rico Major League Scouts Association and it’s by invite only.

Some of these kids plans are going to the Tournament of Excellence see a scout signed a pro contract or have the opportunity to attend college. Some will graduate high school this year participating in the tournament; have not received any baseball college recruitment.

More than 500,000 student-athletes play high school baseball each year, and less than 2% of them will go on to play college baseball at the NCAA Division I level. The tournament will also offer Historically Black College and University (HBCU’s) the chance to see firsthand the hot bed of baseball talent being produced in Puerto Rico.

Fifteen years ago, Baseball Coach Mervyl Melendez diversified his roster with players from Puerto Rico which changed the landscape of HBCU baseball programs.

Under Melendez, Bethune-Cookmen University became a NCAA DI baseball powerhouse leading his alma mater to eleven Conference championships in his twelve seasons

Puerto Rico is producing top-notch talent, with players going on to MLB careers or playing college baseball in the NCAA and NAIA. However, not every player gets chosen by the elite DI programs. Eighty percent of Melendez players hauled from Puerto Rico.

The Excellence Tournament exposes the top youth prospects that are not on any scouts or recruiting radar. The event will feature pitchers with 90 mph fast balls.

Some top-notch baseball players participate in the Excellence Tournament. Major League Baseball players “Carlos Beltran, Angel Pagan, Luis Matos, Yadier Molina, Alexis Cintron and Ruben Gotay” competed in the Tournament, successfully playing at the major league level.

Some of the top prospect names for the 2015 Excellence Tournament are:

Alexis Diaz, P

Jovani Moran, P

Gabriel Cancel, SS

Nestor Muriel, OF

Michael Rivera, P

Edrick Agosto, P

Kevin Santiago, SS

Jorge Martinez, C

Hector Santiago, SS

Leam Marrero, OF

Abdiel Morales, C

Joennys Vazquez, C

Norberto Navarro, IF

Jomar Valentin, 2B

Obed Diaz, P

Aldemar Burgos, OF

Joshua Garcia, SS

Stephen Santiago, P

Carlos Viera, 3B

This offers HBCU the chance to recruit student athletics from the island that would not have had the chance otherwise to extend their athletic careers outside of high school. The tournament looks beyond MLB. It provides these kids the opportunity of a college education.

“The Excellence Tournament will be dedicated to Puerto Rico scout Junior Roman of the San Francisco Giants”.

Games start at 10 a.m.

The Tournament Start Time:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

9:30 am-Infield practice

10 am-12 pm—first game

12:30 pm-3 pm— second game

3 pm-4 pm—Tournament Inauguration

4:30 pm-7 pm—third game

Thursday April 30, 2015

10 am-12 pm—first game

12:30 pm-3 pm— second game

3:30 pm-6 pm—third game

Friday, May 1, 2015

10 am-12 pm—first game

12:30 pm-3 pm—second game

3:30 pm-6 pm—third game

Saturday, May 2, 2015

10 am-12 pm—Semifinals

12:30 pm-3 pm—Semifinals

3:30 pm-7 pm—Finals

7:30 pm—Awards Ceremony

A second Tournament event will be held this August for the top prospects to participate in the “Torneo de Colores (Tournament of Colors)”, headed by tournament Director and Founder Jorge Posada Sr., where scouts can see some of the island’s future talent invited for the 2016 Excellence Tournament roster.