Or deemed not good enough.
Unfortunately there's a bigger chance of not making it than even having a chance of making it. Roughly 10% of minor league ballplayers will have a chance to make it through the roughly 6 levels of play before they lace on the spikes for their Big League debut. Only 3% of minor league ballplayers actually will make it to the bigs.
Which is what makes MiLB top prospects so interesting. These guys are the valedictorian's of their class. They are the captain of the football teams, the million-dollar babies. They have the greatest chances of making it, and we as fans love to watch their journey.
I grew to love baseball even more by being around minor leaguers. I sold Dippin Dots for the low class-a affiliate for the Cardinals (and later Cubs) when i was 16 as my first job, and I realized that watching a minor league game is the closest you can come to watching baseball at it's purest.
I still go to that ballpark that I sold Dippin Dots at and sit behind the visiting bullpen, drink beer, and keep score by myself. I love the smell of the ballpark, watching the guys goof off in the bullpen, hearing the crack of the bat with only 800 people on a Wednesday night to keep me company. I love traveling to different minor league stadiums and doing the same thing, and I love following guys in the Midwest League.
Watching some of the guys I still have scorecards for, and was close to when I worked for the Peoria Chiefs make it to the big leagues is the most amazing feeling. It sounds dumb but 5-6 years after watching them, guys like Sam Fuld, Jake Fox, and Brendan Ryan are making it to the bigs and some of them even playing in the post season,.I feel like a proud sister watching her surrogate big brothers reach their dreams.
So the older I got the more I got into following top prospects, and especially Midwest League players. I enjoy going to see the guys play first hand, and I thought I would share my joy of watching these boys' journey's by doing a Spotlight on: Prospects, blog now and again.
I'm not going to force any players down your throat- and I'm not going to specify my prospects blogs to Top Prospects- there are a lot of players in the Midwest League who aren't top Prospects but for those of you who live in the Peoria Area (and Chicago- as there are some Midwest League affiliates up North), it might be fun for you to get out and see some of these guys play.
You might be watching the next Albert Pujols :)
So today I want to concentrate on one of MLB Network's top prospects- Drew Storen.
Storen is MLB Networks number 40 Top Prospect.
A Right Handed pitcher from Stanford, Storen was drafted in the 2009 Amateur draft in the 1st Round, 10th overall for 1.6 million by the Washington Nationals (After they chose Stephen Strasburg with the Number 1 pick). A small(er) signing bonus is product of Storen not wanting to fuss over his contract, hoping to catapult his career quickly through the minors- perhaps even becoming the Nat's closer at the end of the 2010 season.
Storen has a fastball in the 90-94 MPH range with quality movement, a cureveball that breaks in hard at 79-83 MPG (that he refers to as more of a "slurve"), and a changeup that he rarely uses due to his pitching in relief.
Drew flew through his first season in the Minors starting out in A and ending out in AA pitching for the Harrisburg Senators in the Eastern League.
His 2009 combined stats look a little something like this:
49 Strike Outs
I've clearly bolded the most impressive of his stats. (check out that WHIP!)
In the Arizona Fall League, he had 2 wins, 4 saves, a .66 ERA, and a 1.39 WHIP.
So after a productive first year in the minors and in the Arizona Fall League, what has Storen been working on in the off season? Improving his control will always be at the top of the list, but he also specifically began working on his control over the running game. Base runners have had an easier time stealing bases against him and Storen has successfully lowered his time-to-the-plate from 1.7 to 1.3 without losing velocity or movement.
Drew is likely to start the season in AA again, and as I said before, we can look at him to be the potential closer for Washington at the end of the 2010 season.