FIBS Academist Daniele Di Monte strives to be in top form for MLB scouts

A proud product of the Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball (FIBS) Academy Aquacetosa in Rome, 16-year-old Daniele Di Monte tipped off his talent in the eighth grade at school when he won the Student Games Vortex competition. After a convincing win in the javelin contest during which he launched a throw that measured over 89 meters, onlookers scratched their heads in disbelief. Considering he beat the second-place finisher by over 20 meters, everybody knew Daniele Di Monte was gifted and something special.

Inspired to play baseball after watching his older brother Davide compete, Daniele Di Monte began playing for the Staranzano Ducks when he was six and remained with the organization for nearly a decade. At the invitation of Daniele Santolupo, he was invited to try out for the FIBS Academy in Tirrenia. With the support of his parents, Daniele Di Monte became a FIBS Academist to pursue his passion for playing the game he loved.

Team Italy Juniors coach Stefano Cappuccini believes in Daniele Di Monte. He said, "I think Di Monte has a got a chance. When I talk to Daniele, I think that he is actually older than 16. I forget sometimes. His bat speed is incredible. Daniele can also pitch. He was clocked at 89 mph at the MLB Academies Tourney in Spain. At the FIBS Academy in Tirrenia, he concentrated on pitching. Now we have him focused on pitching and hitting at the FIBS Academy in Rome."

Stefano Cappuccini and Daniele Di Monte (Roberto Angotti)Team Italy Juniors manager and FIBS Academy director John Cortese shares the positive outlook on Daniele DiMonte, but cautions the young and talented player still needs to make progress. He said, "Scouts say Daniele has a plus arm. He needs more at-bats and needs to play every day." DIrector of Kansas City Royals Arizona operations Nick Leto reinforced the Team Italy U18 skipper's opinion on the six-foot-plus Daniele Di Monte. He said, "Danielle Di Monte has a good body. It’s all about reps for me concerning him. He needs to keep playing and getting repetitions. I do really like him myself. Daniele is a fantastic young man who is a hard worker with passion, commitment, and talent. His ceiling is high." 

Major League Baseball took notice of Daniele Di Monte last year after he tore up the 2017 European U15 Cadets Championship in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. He lead Team Italy in batting average (.769, 10-for-13), slugging percentage (1.385), on-base percentage (.800), runs scores (9), hits (10), RBI (11), doubles (5), home runs (1) and total bases (18). Daniele Di Monte also pitched 1.2 innings in two relief appearances during the Euro U15 Championship. He said, "I felt positive and confident that I was going to hit the ball well. As the cleanup hitter and the captain of the team, I wanted to lead us to victory." 

Last year Daniele Di Monte was invited to the Kansas City Royals Arizona Training Facility in Surprise, Arizona to participate in the 2017 Prep Baseball Report (PBR) College Showcase.  Shortly after his arrival at Phoenix International Airport, former FIBS Academist and Kansas City Royals prospect Marten Gasparini welcomed Daniele Di Monte with open arms. Nick Leto explained, "We actually connected some dots for Di Monte. PBR – Prep Baseball Report was running an event at our facility, and we got Daniele connected to it so he could participate and be seen by some college recruiters. Daniele Di Monte commented, "The Gasparini and Leto families took good care of me and made me feel right at home. I enjoyed working out with Arizona Rookie League minor leaguers for a week while I was there."

After playing with his brother Davide for the 2018 Junior Alpina (Trieste) squad in Serie B, Daniele Di Monte joined former FIBS Academist Riccardo Bertossi on the New Black Panthers di Ronchi to lead the team to the 2018 U18 Italian Championship title in Modena. Daniele Di Monte New Black Panthers di Ronchi (Roberto Angotti)He and Riccardo Bertossi also ventured to Arizona as part of the MLB College Showcase in October. Chosen among the 31 invited elite players to attend and also to be part of the MLB World squad with teammates from the Netherlands, Czech Republic, France, Germany, China, Equador, New Zealand, and South Africa, Daniele Di Monte and Riccardo Bertossi received instruction from professional coaches as well as played against college and minor league teams. In addition to touring local colleges and universities, they were also introduced to the inner workings and structure of U.S college baseball from the junior college level to the powerhouse university circuit. 

Daniele Di Monte reflected on his most recent trip to Arizona and said, "I was proud to be one of two players representing Italian baseball in the MLB College Showcase." Nick Leto, who was influential in the signing of Marten Gasparini and Alex Liddi, has been keeping close tabs on Italian players. He said, "We signed Luis Lugo out of Italy too. He was pitching in Parma, and we saw him at Baseball week in the Netherlands over the summer. We do believe in Italian baseball and European baseball. They need to keep pushing, more competitions, more games, reps, and practice to keep developing. There is talent….Got to dream!" Enrolled at the FIBS Academy Aquacetosa on the campus of the CONI "Giulio Onesti" Olympic Training Center in Rome, Daniele Di Monte will get his share of repetitions and workouts before his next major showcase in front of MLB scouts. In the meantime, the future looks bright for Daniele Di Monte as he strives to stay on top of his game so that his dream of playing baseball professionally can come true. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen

by Roberto Angotti