Five flags over the Rangers Academy. There is room for a sixth when _ and if, I suppose _ the Rangers win a World Series.
The main academy building; The clubhouse is closest in the foreground. The top floor is used for dormitories; four players to a small room. The bottom floor houses the training room, weight room, meeting room, cafeteria and offices.
The landscaping is exquisite, giving this more of a college campus feel than baseball factory.
The main field at the complex. The other field is identical. Notice, though, that there is nothing around the complex, but sugar cane fields.
This stone wall separates the Rangers' complex from the one Atlanta recently completed. The building is the Braves' indoor batting cage; the Rangers have one, too.
The Rangers sent a large contingent of club officials, including GM Jon Daniels, to the Dominican Republic in late January to watch some of the team's top prospects.
Daniels confers with Director of Player Development Scott Servais during the trip.
Don Welke, left, and GM Jon Daniels watch a workout at the Rangers' Dominican academy.
One of the Rangers' Dominican scouts, Jesus Ovalle, chats with right-hander Carlos Pimentel.
Right-hander Warner Madrigal, signed as a free agent after Anaheim mistakenly left him off its 40-man roster, tells Senior Director of Baseball Operations Don Welke and GM Jon Daniels that he plans to pitch in the majors this season.
Corny caption alert: Rangers No. 1 prospect shortstop Elvis Andrus looks skyward, which appears to be the limit for him.
You make the call: Does Joaquin Arias look a little bigger or is he still skin and bones?
Another view of Arias; gotta admit he looks pretty skinny here. Blame the photographer.
Last chance for a verdict on Arias.
Engel Beltre seems to always have fun.
Don't be fooled by the helmet; the guy in the foreground is catching prospect Cristian Santana.
Academy and Dominican Summer League manager Jayce Tingler. He is the only American currently running a Dominican Academy program.
Even in the Dominican, GM Jon Daniels is never far from his cell.
The clubhouse at the complex rivals a Class A or Double-A minor league clubhouse.
The weight room, which is considered the best and most modern in the Dominican. Every time I set foot in the room, a baseball highlights DVD was playing _ and the arguments were lively. Trust me, there was plenty of work being done.
By far, however, the busiest room in the complex was the cafeteria. Food wasn't bad either. But I still don't get plantains.
Everything seems to move fast in the cafeteria. Obviously, this player doesn't share my frustration over the plainness of plantains.
Lunch is served: Fish, pork, rice and beans.
The next day, we had chicken, but I don't think it was this guy. Chickens do run free all over the complex. I didn't ask any questions about where they end up.
Between workouts, lunch and English classes, the main activity in the late afternoon is hanging out on the balconies.
Joaquin Benoit, who is working closely with about 30 potential prospects in his hometown of Santiago, and camp do-everything guy “Anaheim.” His real name is Ramon, but nobody calls him that. His best asset: Nobody _ nobody _ can give GM Jon Daniels a harder time.
This was as close as I got to the beach: My hotel had four flamingos who spent all day in a wading pool. Oh, well.