“Not everybody is willing to work as hard as they say they are.” – Eli Delgado
The Delgado brothers explain the importance of relationships in baseball and how you can break into the business simply by shaking hands and introducing yourself. They discuss the amount of work and resources involved in training an international prospect in Nicaragua as well as developing young players in the United States simultaneously.
Their academy (Cinco Estrellas) in Nicaragua is responsible for training and developing over 30 players that have been signed. Their efforts have led to over 30 prospects signings in the past 7 years.
Silvio (42), Kelvin (40), Eli (38) were born in Nicaragua and moved to Los Angeles in early 1980’s. As they grew up adapting to the American way of life they played many sports while remaining true to their family roots of baseball.
They have since figured out how to stay in the game by teaching, coaching and mentoring young players in both U.S. and Nicaragua.
They are currently in charge of player development at Sierra Canyon High School in California.
We discuss a wide array of topics in this interview:
- The difference in Latin players vs. American players’ options in baseball and life.
- How to get involved as a coach or trainer and NOT have to quit your job.
- The challenges of running an academy in Nicaragua and getting players signed.
- How baseball has plenty of opportunities to be involved outside of the actual product.
- And much, much more.
HOW WE MET
In November of 2010, I was finally given the opportunity to attend MLB Scout School through a sponsorship form the Oakland Athletics.
The catch was, I had to fly to Boca Chica, in the Dominican Republic and pay my own way. No problem. I’m in. Kelvin Delgado was employed by MLB as one of the Spanish to English translators for the 2-week course. I was one of only six students (out of 36) that did not speak fluent Spanish.
So, needless to say, I was hanging on everything Kelvin had to say in and out of class. We got to know each other quickly and realized soon that we were practically neighbors back in California. We agreed to connect when we returned to the States so I could meet his brothers to develop a game plan towards working together.
Enter Eli and Silvio. It was the Delgado brothers that orchestrated an idea that was completely unorthodox to any aspiring scout looking to land a job with an MLB organization.
After several failed interviews with teams looking for Area Scouts in SoCal, I was willing to try anything. Having an academy in Nicaragua (Cinco Estrellas) that developed players they suggested I use them to attract the attention of a Scouting Director willing to send a young aspiring scout to explore.
At the time Nicaragua was only averaging less than 10 players signed annually. The country possessed the presence of approximately 8 MLB teams. We drafted an itinerary and budget. With their help and contacts, I emailed every team in baseball. I received two replies. The Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Both International Scouting Directors were curious and agreed to meet with me in Arizona during Spring Training 2011.
It was there and then that Mike Daly from the Rangers took a chance on me and our plan. He agreed to send me as the scout who would eventually be responsible for finding the first Nicaraguan born prospect signed by the Texas Rangers. Melvin Novoa was a 15 yr old catcher when I first met him that May of 2011. He was educated, trained and developed in the Cinco Estrella Academy when the Rangers signed him in November 2013 for $300,000.
I owe a lot to the Delgado brothers.
Eli educated me on the international side of the game and behind the scenes business aspect. Kelvin took me under his wing and opened my eyes to the developmental challenges in his world.
He made sure I understood the culture first and the frame of mind needed to evaluate the talent pool for players this young. Together they all opened my eyes to a world that I knew nothing about. They showed me the real-life struggles of not just ballplayers in Latin America but real people surviving and living in a third world country.
I am grateful for our friendship and proud to be their brother in baseball and in life.
Muchisimo gracias Delgado hermanos.
Love the Game. Live the Dream