The future stars of Major League Baseball gathered in Miami Jan. 9-11 for the 28th installment of the Rookie Career Development Program. The event —hosted jointly by the league and the Major League Baseball Players Association—offers an opportunity for the game’s rising young talents to interact with each other while also learning the ins-and outs of successfully navigating a professional career both on and off the field.
Players attended meetings led by league and union officials as well as former and current big leaguers who have experienced firsthand, the transition from the minors to the majors.
With the elevated platform that comes with playing baseball at the major league level, one of the RCDP’s main goals is to shine light on the various issues that could arise throughout the span of a playing career.
Topics such as dealing with the media, how to handle situations in the clubhouse, drugs in baseball, inclusion and financial planning were among the topics discussed in the player meetings, followed by smaller group discussions to further enhance the learning opportunity.
Executive Director Tony Clark, Hall of Famer and Special Advisor Dave Winfield, General Counsel Ian Penny, Assistant General Counsel Bob Lenaghan and Director of Player Operations Leonor Colon were among the speakers representing the Players Association at this year’s event.
In previous years, the RCDP has hosted rookies that have made the transition to the big leagues seamlessly, with some going on to becoming All-Stars as well as finalists and winners of the Players Choice Awards.
Among this year’s attendees were top prospects Jon Duplantier, Mitch Keller, Jonathan Loaisiga, Peter Alonso and Justin Dunn.