The topic today is the major league draft and player development. What about high school players vs. college players, and when are they ready for the major leagues?
I can only give the perspective of a junior college and high school coach, but I have been blessed to have coached a number of players who were drafted, either as an assistant or head coach.
Before going any further, please don’t think I’m patting my own back. I just happened to be in the right places at the right times to be able to put some great players’ names in the lineups over the years. They all made it on their own talent, by working hard. Here are some of the high school players I coached that were drafted:
- I coached Prince Fielder for three years in high school before he transferred to Eau Gallie High and was drafted 7th by the Brewers after playing for coach Bob Collins as a senior. Prince took a traditional path to Milwaukee, making stops along the way from rookie ball to AAA.
- Edgardo Salgado was draft pick #1436 in the 50th and final round of the 1998 draft by the Angels, but didn’t sign
- Jorge Padilla, 3rd round, 1998, has 13 years of minor league service, and 25 major league at bats with Washington in 2009. He is now at Tucson in the Pacific Coast League.
- Andy Gonzalez, 5th round, 2001, is 30, has played in 91 games in the show and is currently trying to make it back by way of playing for the Nashville Sounds.
Each of those players has a different story, from Fielder being a major league all-star to Salgado, who was offered the minimum and decided to go to junior college. Padilla and Gonzalez have touched the big-time, and can’t let go of the desire to get back to the top again. The rounds they were drafted in give you an idea how hard it is to make the top rung of baseball’s ladder.