SAN DIEGO — Wesley Aguilar is a 29-year-old who lives and breathes baseball.
Judge for yourself, he built a batting cage at his house.
“This backyard started 10 years ago. Started for me, started when I was in college. Little by little, people were asking me, ‘Can you train my kid, can you train my kid?’” said Aguilar, founder of Grind Baseball SD.
Those parents knew about Aguilar’s resume.
He played at Montgomery High School when he was only in sixth grade before transferring to San Ysidro. Then he earned a scholarship to Texas A&M Kingsville.
“I signed a professional contract to go play for Santanas de Monterey in the Mexican League. I was there for two-and-half years and I retired,“ Aguilar said.
Once his career was over, he founded the nonprofit Grind Baseball SD.
Aguilar focuses on training local youth to be the best athlete they can be. The former shortstop’s first trainee was a homerun.
“The first kid I trained was Victor Lizarraga, he’s a prospect for the Padres. At first it was free, I wasn’t doing it for money or nothing, actually giving back 100%,” Aguilar said.
His team works with children 7 to 12 years old.
Each age group has their own travel team that competes nationally and internationally, an experience Aguilar says goes beyond baseball.
“I want my kids to see that they’re kids from different countries with the same dream but different resources, so they can appreciate what we have here, the little things we have they can appreciate it a little more,” he said.
The hard work he did training kids in his backyard, has now come full circle. Aguilar has built relationships with pro teams in Mexico and the MLB.
“The professional team in Tijuana, we have that relationship. I played in that league. I have a hitting coach’s kid plays for our organization, and some connections with the Padres,” Aguilar said.
For Aguilar, the best part of the job is helping the next generation.
“That what I told the parents, that’s the money maker. Trying to change kids from my community and make them be better citizens, that’s what it’s all about,” Aguilar said.