When the Brewers signed him to a club-record bonus in 2005, right-hander Rolando Pascual was supposed to stand as a symbol of an innovative new approach to international scouting and player development. Nearly five years later, Pascual’s career is stalled, and he instead has become a symbol of why the system didn’t work.
It’s Rolando Valles’ mission to make sure the next generation of Brewers prospects from Latin America follow a smoother path. Valles’ official job title is Latin Liaison, but his daily duties run the gamut from baseball coach to English teacher to father figure.
As the Brewers once again shift their strategy in Latin America, Valles might just be the most important club official whose name you’ve never heard.
“More and more organizations are coming to the realization that it’s important to create a position like Rolando’s,” said Brewers’ special assistant Dan O’Brien. “There are 1,001 reasons why a Latin player may not succeed, and it may have nothing to do with ability. So his role is very significant.”
Valles is in overdrive this week. The Brewers’ Minor League camp officially opened for business on Wednesday, when pitchers and catchers, including a handful from the team’s new academy in the Dominican Republic, reported to Maryvale Baseball Park. Position players will follow on Friday.
You can read much more about Valles’ role in the organization and the Brewers’ new academy in the Dominican Republic in my story on Brewers.com. There are some photos over there, but some others did not make the cut so I thought I would post them here. Thanks to Reid Nichols, Zack Minasian and Doug Melvin for the shots.