Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
Double-A Affiliate
The Official Site of the Corpus Christi Hooks Corpus Christi Hooks

Positive Vibe

Laureano: Hard Work, High Miles
September 1, 2016

Not counting offseason travel home or team road trips, Ramon Laureano has logged an estimated 11,393 miles in order to roam the outfield for Corpus Christi in 2016.

A rough estimate, perhaps, but it's safe to say the Dominican outfielder has journeyed far across North America to achieve his dream of breaking into Major League Baseball, a vision that has driven the 22-year-old for the past decade and a half.

"I've told my dad that, since I was a little kid, I've dreamt of getting to one point and that's to get to the big leagues and be successful," Laureano said. "That's what I keep telling him. I don't care what people say to me. I don't care what they think about me. I just think about where I want to be and how I want myself to be when I get there. That's all I think about."

That self-motivated determination mixed with natural gifts and hard work helped Laureano attract the attention of scouts and coaches from a young age, even when there weren't many options.

"I was different because I knew I didn't have the talent to sign at the July 2 deadline (MLB's International Signing Day)," Laureano said. "I was thinking that I needed to get a scholarship to get out of the country, learn the English language and American culture. If you think about it, the United States is the place to be in the future. You want to learn the language so you can get a better job."

Approaching high school, Laureano received his lone scholarship offer from the Upper Room Christian School - 1,554 miles away from the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo in Dix Hills, a hamlet on New York's Long Island.

"It's hard to get in to high school, but the (Upper Room) coach called and I got into that school, so it was pretty cool," Laureano said. "I'm an only child, so it was pretty tough for my parents. We thought about it for a week, but it was better for me to go there for the benefit of my future. If it didn't work out, I could just come back home."

Laureano began his first semester at URCS in 2009, months before the largest blizzard in 60 years hit the northeastern U.S.

Going from a country that averages 80 degrees in December-January to a place which took on almost 80 centimeters (32 inches) of snow in four days was an obvious adjustment, but the weather was calm compared to Laureano's cultural transition.

"I didn't know a single word in English, other than 'hello' and the basics," Laureano said. "I just started with the basics and then learned more by living day-by-day. My teammates helped me out a little bit, and my host mom was a teacher who had connections with other teachers, so I could have extra work after school. Four months later, I could have a conversation with anybody."

After mastering the English language and graduating from high school, Laureano set his sights on college baseball. As had been the case for high school, there was a single offer. It came from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College -1,308 miles away in Miami, Oklahoma.

"Nobody recruited me out of high school," Laureano said. "Then, my summer coach told me that a coach in Oklahoma wanted me because I pitched in high school. Everybody wants a pitcher, especially if he's Dominican. I was pretty decent and then they gave me a full ride right away. It was kind of crazy. When I got there, I realized it was a pretty good school for a junior college, both academically and athletically, so it was a blessing."

After pitching a few innings as a freshman, Laureano became a pure outfielder. He was playing summer baseball in Medford, Oregon, where on the morning of the third day of the 2014 draft, he received a call from the Astros' Jim Stevenson-the only scout to contact Laureano leading up to the draft.

Selection in the 16th round by Houston kickstarted Laureano's professional career, one which has already proven that hard work and a strong, positive attitude can serve as the necessary fuel to keep his dream of playing MLB alive.

"I just keep working hard and it pays off," Laureano said. "Baseball gets better every time you move up. I know that if I work hard enough, I can play at this level. There are many games left, and I know that if I have a bad day, I'll have good games after that. I always see everything positively. I don't see anything negative - I just see everything positive and that's how I live."