MLB Prospect Connects With Spanish Class

Cruz Noriega, a pitcher in the Kansas City Royals farm system, helps students work on their Spanish speaking skills while he works on his English as well


Sruthi Ramesh

Freshman James Ormsby works on his Spanish speaking with Kansas City Royals prospect Cruz Noreiga.

Jaxin Osinski, Reporter

In a year revolving around remote learning and online video chatting, Mr. Hendricks and his Spanish 1 class had a very unique Zoom call recently with Major League Baseball prospect Cruz Noriega. Noriega is a 23-year-old pitcher who plays for and attends an academy in the Dominican Republic. He is originally from Venezuela and has traveled all over in order to be a part of the Kansas City Royals farm system. 

“The GM (general manager) of the Royals Dayton Moore played at George Mason University where I played college baseball. So I reached out to my old college coach to connect me with the Royals. Once I got connected, I offered to help their Spanish speaking players in any way I could,” Mr. Hendricks said. 

It was cool to talk to someone at the next level of a sport who is a professional.

— Mason Wunderlich (9)

Noriega joined a Zoom call on Oct. 9 with Mr. Hendricks and his Spanish 1 class. The students asked Noriega questions in Spanish to work on their language skills. These questions consisted of: what is your name, how are you and where are you from. They asked Noriega questions in English that revolved more around the sports aspect of Noregia’s life. A few of the examples were: who is your favorite player, how hard do you throw and what is your favorite baseball moment. 

“It was cool to talk to someone at the next level of a sport who is a professional,” freshman Mason Wunderlich said.

Being stuck in the Dominican Republic for almost a year, Noriega is focusing on his education to become a better English speaker which is part of the process to help him get to the United States to pursue his dream. As he grinds it out on the baseball field, the dream for Noriega is to one day throw his 95 mile per hour fastball in the big leagues. He wants to follow in the footsteps of legendary baseball players he looks up to such as Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Jose Berrios.

Noriega also used this Zoom call as a project for his school as well. He gave Mr. Hendricks’ class a presentation and also asked students questions in English about life in America. The questions revolved around how we are handling Covid and just how life was in our country. 

“Everyone was nervous at first, but my students really enjoyed it,” Hendricks said. “Being able to talk to a native speaker and someone who is potentially famous was a cool experience for them. The goal is to continue this type of interaction with more players.”