Up to 15 players expected to be drafted from the SFWL, held at Historic Dodgertown
More than 65 players from across the United States and the Dominican Republic traveled to Historic Dodgertown – Vero Beach to participate in the South Florida Winter League with the hope of being drafted to play in the Independent League. Scouts and personnel from various teams, including Major League Baseball, have been watching the players practice and play each day.
Tomorrow is the much anticipated Draft Day.
Historic Dodgertown has proved to be an excellent choice for the league. From its 80 acres and multiple, lighted full and half-fields, major league locker room, training rooms and facilities, on-property housing and dining, the coaches and players have been able to concentrate on training and games and to prepare the players for Draft Day.
Hal Lanier, Major League Baseball’s National League Manager of the Year in 1986 with the Houston Astros, serves as the SFWL’s Senior Executive Consultant. Lanier is the current manager for the Ottawa Champions in the Can Am Independent League, and previously managed the Northern League’s Winnipeg Goldeyes where he assembled a 523-361 (.591) overall record and reached the playoffs eight times in 10 seasons.
“This is a great facility for a league like this,” said Lanier about Historic Dodgertown. “The facility is outstanding. The lodging is on property and players do not need to go off. The indoor batting cages allow coaches to do all their work in there – bunting, hitting, pitching. We have utilized all of the facility.
The Independent League gives players the opportunity to play organized baseball and the platform to be seen by Major League Baseball scouts. Independent League teams are located from the northwest United States, to the Midwest and southern states, to the Northeast and Canada.
During his tenure with the Independent League, Lanier has seen nearly 100 of his players participate in professional baseball, including five who have gone on to the Major Leagues.
“The number one goal (of the league) is to get the kids into organized baseball,” Lanier said.
Training and playing at Historic Dodgertown is helping some of these “kids” accomplish that goal.