Gaitor and Dean excited for the opportunity; looking to excel
Miami Marlins International Crosschecker Adrian Puig probably said it best, stating that The Bahamas is probably the best nation in the world for sports per capita, and that’s one of the reasons that keep them coming back to sign young baseball talent.
The Marlins added three more Bahamians to their organization on Tuesday, signing two out of the MaxD Sports Academy and another one out of the International Elite (I-Elite) Sports Academy, bringing the total number of Bahamians in the Marlins system up to eight.
Joining the fold from MaxD were Daniel Gaitor and Breyias Dean – both 17-year-old prospects out of the Freedom Farm Baseball League (FFBL). I-Elite student-athlete Janero Miller, number 16 on the international prospects list, signed at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium last night. All three players are in the government of The Bahamas’ subvention program.
“We’re very excited to have all of them on board,” said Puig. “The athletes who come out of this country are exceptional. There are so many Bahamian athletes in different sports who are really impacting their sports internationally. We’ve been aggressive here and we are going to continue to be aggressive. This is a market that we are very much passionate about and will continue to invest in.”
In an upscale signing session at Crypto Isle on Easy Bay Street, both Gaitor and Dean said they are thrilled for the opportunity.
Gaitor started Freedom Farm at seven years old and has been with MaxD since 12.
“I always had a goal to get to this point. It took a lot of hard work but I was prepared to put in that work – from day one,” he said. “I believe that I’m ready for the next challenge in my life. I’m excited and I’m happy for Breyias as well. I hope that both of us keep going and make The Bahamas proud. For me, personally, I couldn’t wait for this day to come and now that it’s finally here, I’m excited and ready to get to the next level. Baseball comes with failure, so you have to be disciplined and keep going. It was rough through the pandemic. That was challenging but I just kept a smile on my face and kept pushing, and this is just the beginning. I’m prepared to put in more work to get to the next level.”
Dean, who was with Freedom Farm since 10 and at MaxD for the last five years, said he’s excited as well.
“This feels great. It shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel,” said Dean. “I’ve been working very hard and just trying to get better every day. This shows that there is a reward for your hard work. I’m just looking forward to the opportunity to keep climbing and keep getting better.”
President of MaxD Greg Burrows Jr. said they are very proud of both Gaitor and Dean and are looking forward to them excelling at the next level. The MaxD Sports Academy opened its doors in 2013 and has helped about 20 young Bahamian baseball players realize their dreams by signing professional contracts.
“We’re just continuing to put in the work. I’m very proud of both of these young men. They have been working very hard for this opportunity and now this day is here,” said Burrows. “It’s a big step for them in their lives. I’m extremely happy for them and their families. Both of them are very athletic and very strong, so I believe they could make an impact right away. I look forward to them moving through the system very quickly.”
Gaitor is primarily an outfielder while Dean regularly plays infield. The financial details of their signing bonuses were not disclosed but Puig said they are very happy to have both of them on board.
“This is one of the best parts of the job – giving young men an opportunity to fulfill their dreams. It’s a special moment for both of them and we’re very happy and excited to have them,” said Puig. “Programs like MaxD are doing a great job of developing young men and giving them the resources they need both on and off the field. These guys are great kids and they’re very disciplined. We feel very comfortable about the character of these two young men. They are going to represent The Bahamas very well.”
Puig said short term, all three players will report to their new 35-acre academy and development center in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic, and take part in rookie ball in the Dominican Summer League for the 2023 season.
“Once they get in the system, it’s up to them in determining how quickly they move through the system, but I’m confident they will both do well and exceed expectations,” he said.
Senior Director of International Operations for the Marlins Adrian Lorenzo said both young men come with a lot of promise and potential.
“They are very advanced and disciplined young men who we feel hold a lot of potential – not just on the field but off the field as well,” said Lorenzo. “They both have exceptional levels of aptitude and athleticism and we feel that they both will become exceptional baseball prospects.”
In the coming days, more Bahamian baseball players are expected to sign professional contracts with Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations in this current international signing period. Chad Delancy signs with the Boston Red Sox at Fusion Superplex on Saturday and Andrew Arthur inks his name on the dotted line with the St. Louis Cardinals at Fusion Superplex on Sunday.
The Bahamas keeps turning heads with MLB signees, which is a testament to the hard work of local coaches at Freedom Farm, the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN), the MaxD Sports Academy and I-Elite.