Making Their Mark
MLB Turns to MDC for Great Players
As it does each year, Miami Dade College recently scored big in the Major League Baseball Draft with four current and two former players making the cut. In fact, MDC has sent more players to the major leagues than any other school, with a history of stars that includes former big-league names such as Mike Piazza, Bucky Dent, Steve Carlton and Alex Fernández, as well as more recent ones including Raúl Ibáñez, Kiko Calero, Jonathan Albaladejo and World Series heroes Plácido Polanco and Andrés Torres.
This year, the College’s draftees were: catcher Leonardo Rojas, who was chosen in the 15th round by the San Francisco Giants; pitcher Myles Smith, selected in the 16th round by the New York Mets; outfielder Yogey Pérez-Ramos, picked in the 17th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks; and pitcher Dixon Llorens, taken in the 25th round by the St. Louis Cardinals.
In addition, former Miami Dade College outfielder Joel Capote, who continued his education at St. Thomas University, was drafted in the 28th round by the Anaheim Angels. And catcher Jorge Saez, who continued his education at Lee University in Tennessee, was drafted in the 32nd round by the Toronto Blue Jays.
“That shows a lot about the program and the coaching that we have,” said Smith, a business management major.
Getting Degree First
Smith, who wants to be a sports agent when his playing days are over, has a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Miami. So he had a choice: sign a professional contract or continue his education while playing at UM.
“It’s a very big decision,” said Smith, who is from Detroit and came to MDC because of the reputation of its baseball program.
After giving it lots of thought, he decided to accept the scholarship to Miami and will seek a pro career a year or two from now.
Llorens also had a tough choice to make because he had a scholarship to the University of South Carolina, which won national championships in baseball in 2010 and 2011.
Ultimately, though, he chose to turn pro.
Ready to Be Top Players
Rojas, who majored in accounting at MDC, signed a pro contract a few days after the draft.
“He was the best baseball player we had last season,” MDC coach Danny Price said. “You can put him anywhere. He has a great knowledge of the game and never has a bad day.”
Meanwhile, Pérez-Ramos also turned pro and could be a player who rises quickly.
“He is extremely fast and has great power from the left side,” Price said.
Every player on last year’s roster who did not go pro earned a scholarship to continue playing baseball at a four-year school.
“We’re working to accomplish the same thing this year,” Price said.
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