You have been playing baseball your entire life. Join the club of millions upon millions of other people who think that they have the skills that it takes to go pro in America’s Pastime. For some reason, people think it is not that hard to step up the plate and hit a 95 mph fastball or make contact with a dirty slider that breaks at the last second. It has to be easier than throwing a perfect spiral while a 300lb beast is about to eat you for dinner or shooting a slap shot in front of monsters looking to check you into the boards and break all your teeth, right? Right…
So if you are not one of the 0.0001% who end up getting drafted, subsequently climb up the Minor League ladder, and then make your Major League debut, what are you to do? There are many Independent Leagues in America that display tons of talent. Many of those players end up making it into the MLB for the first time or back into the MLB after being found by a scout while playing Indy ball. In fact, a couple of Dynasty clients are attempting to do just that. Dan Leatherman was with the Minnesota Twins organization and Gerard Haran was with the St. Louis Cardinals. Both of them were cut this past offseason. Leatherman has scored a contract with the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the Northern League and Haran just signed a contract with the Newark Bears. Major League scouts have already been commenting on Leatherman, and the Goldeyes have not yet played a single game with him on its their roster.
Another route is the open tryout. In fact, Leatherman first made it into the Twins organization by showing his skills at such a tryout. Undrafted out of college, he was not deterred and decided to take a shot in the dark. It just so happens that they liked him enough to provide him a roster spot. While odds are against you getting chosen out of the myriad of participants in an open tryout, what is there to lose? Nathan Rode of Baseball America was on my wavelength when he decided to tryout for the Detroit Tigers this past Spring Training. Teams hold these tryouts every year. While only one player was selected out of Rode’s group, it shows that the possibility of being discovered exists. Leatherman’s story is another case-in-points.
Life is not over for a baseball player if he is not selected in the Amateur Draft. It is also not the end of the road if he is cut by an MLB organization. Life is all about second chances, but you will always have to prove yourself. It may take busting your ass in open tryouts or independent baseball.