Monday, January 21, 2013

Predicting A Future Star

We love going to minor league baseball games. Last season it was the closer college wood bat league. While in past seasons it's been Northwest League. I believe that both leagues can be pretty close talent wise most the time. Some years they can be far apart as well. To prove this fact, the Salem/Keizer Volcanoes (Northwest) play the Corvallis Knights (college) team an exhibition game each season. While I haven't went to the last two years as I don't care for the Volcanoes. The years we did go the game was always close with some games even ending in ties.

Watching all these games you will sometimes see future MLB players come through the teams. At this level it is farther between them as this is short-season A ball. Meaning that most promising players will skip past this level altogether. Sometimes though they will start here, and those are the fun ones. The ones you can say I saw them when they were in town. Some of the more recent I can think of are.
David Freese with the Eugene Emeralds

I'm willing to bet a few Padres fan are upset about this one. The Emeralds are the Padres affiliate from the league, and as you can see this isn't a Padres card. The sad part is I was unable to make it down to Eugene the season Freese was in town, and that is a loss.

Micheal McHenry with the Tri-City Dust Devils

I saw McHenry every chance I had as I'm a Colorado Rockies fan. Honestly I had my doubts about him ever wearing a Rockies uniform as he didn't seem that impressive. Guess I was partially right, he hasn't played for the Rockies.
 Buster Posey with Salem/Keizer Volcanoes

Another of the players I never got to see. It was a busy summer so I didn't hit to many minor league games that season.

This last one is special, and the reason for this entire post. On Friday while I was driving home, and listening to sports talk radio. The show of choice is PMS, 'Petros, and Money Show'. A guest was filling in for Petros. The man was a football player, and the subject of star players came up.

Money asked him if while playing in college if he ever played with a star. While he didn't mention any names the man said that oh yes! Then he went on to explain about how when you play with these players you can tell they will be big. There is just something about them that you look at and can tell they have IT. 

While I never played baseball in the minors. The first time I saw this man play you could tell he was going to play in the majors and be a star. Seeing this man move his huge frame down the third baseline, and snagging balls he shouldn't be able to get for his size was amazing. I remember looking to the wife, and telling her this man will be the next third baseman for the San Fransisco Giants.
She looked at me with the comment about reading an article mentioning him. The article went on to say he wouldn't make it far as he was too big to be playing third. His size would doom him to a few years in the minors before the Giants gave up on him.

I fired back with can you see that man move? It was my belief that he ran faster than most anyone on the team. Despite the fact he was the biggest player. His speed is amazing so remember that we saw him as he will be a star. 

The funny thing is this is the only player I've ever seen in the league that had that type of impact on me as a fan. Just watching him, and realizing that you were seeing future greatness. If you haven't already guessed by now the player is...
Pablo Sandoval

While I don't collect his cards, and don't know why. Of all the players I have ever seen he will always be the one that has left a lasting impression.

I'd love to hear if you have any player that came through town as either a visitor or hometown that you just looked at, and said this is future greatness.

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