5 Baseball Players Who Made It to the Majors Despite All Odds
There are a slew of reasons why baseball is the most popular sport in the world. For starters, it’s easy to understand, accessible to people of all ages, and it’s fun to watch as well. But what makes it so successful globally? The answer lies in the unlikely stories of the players who made it to the majors despite the odds being stacked against them. Even if you don’t play baseball, odds are you’ve heard at least a few of these stories. That’s because baseball players defy the odds all the time. Some, of course, are due to the natural abilities of the players themselves. But there are plenty of others who overcame difficult upbringings, terrible luck, and other unfortunate circumstances to make it in the big leagues. Check out these six players who overcame all odds to become big leaguers.
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David Wright might be the biggest surprise on this list. He’s the best player in the history of the New York Mets, having helped lead the team to the World Series in 2014. Before that, however, he was a high school baseball star who failed to make the team at North Carolina State University. His college career was riddled with injuries and he was drafted by the New York Mets in the 7th round of the 2005 draft, but he did not sign with them. His MLB career followed an unlikely path too, as he was not drafted until the sixth round and had to forego college football to make the team. Wright didn’t make his MLB debut until he was 23 years old, and he’s been with the Mets ever since.
It’s been three decades since a player from Cuba debuted in the majors. In fact, there have only been six players who have debuted in the bigs who were born in Cuba since the end of the Cold War. Altuve is the first of them, having debuted with the Houston Astros in 2012 at the age of 28. This might seem like bad luck, but it really isn’t. Altuve was a highly talented amateur player and was considered by scouts to be one of the top prospects in the game when the Astros signed him out of Cuba in 2005. He was traded in 2006 to the Astros, who had just won the World Series the year before, and he was the team’s starting second baseman when he debuted in the majors in 2012 at the age of 28.
Yoan Moncada is another example of a high-caliber amateur being drafted late and then excelling in the majors. He was drafted out of high school in 2012 by the Boston Red Sox, but did not sign with them until 2014, when he was just 19 years old. Moncada was a highly touted amateur prospect, and was considered to be one of the best prospects in the game by all major scouting services when he was drafted. He signed for less than $500,000, and then went on to be a star for the Red Sox, making the All-Star team in just his second season in the majors.
Javier Baez is yet another example of an amateur prospect who was drafted late, signed for a cheap amount, and then made the majors at an older age. Baez was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round in 2010 and signed for only $100,000. Baez had a great amateur career, playing in the collegiate All-American game and being named the National Player of the year in 2012. He was a highly touted prospect entering the draft, and the Cubs snatched him up late, which allowed him to sign for a low amount.
Sano is yet another example of an amateur prospect who was drafted late and then worked his way to the majors. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the third round of the 2010 draft and signed for a $500,000 bonus, but did not make his debut until he was 26 years old in 2016. Sano had a great amateur career and was named an All-American and the NCAA Player of the Year before the Twins drafted him. He earned a reputation as one of the most powerful hitters in the draft, and the Twins signed him late to let him make the big league team straight away.
Kris Bryant’s story is something out of a movie. He was born in Florida and grew up in Pennsylvania, but he only played baseball in high school in his home state. Bryant was a highly touted amateur who was drafted by the Cubs in the first round of the 2009 draft, but he did not sign with them. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and signed for only $100,000, but he did not make his MLB debut until he was 26 years old. Bryant had a Hall of Fame career with the Cubs and is widely considered to be the best third baseman in MLB history. His story is yet another example of the players who are able to make it despite being drafted late and then making the majors at an older age.
Aaron Judge is yet another example of an amateur prospect who was drafted late and made the majors straight away at a younger age. He was drafted in the second round by the Yankees in the 2013 draft and signed for a $1.8 million bonus, but he made his debut in 2016 at the age of 25. Judge had a great amateur career, being named an All-American and being named the National Player of the Year. He earned a reputation as one of the most powerful hitters in the draft, and the Yankees signed him late to let him make the big league team straight away.
Baseball players defy the odds all the time, and it’s a testament to the sport’s popularity. These six players are just a few of the many who have had to overcome all sorts of obstacles to get where they are. There are plenty more waiting in the wings, and they’re certainly not short on talent. So next time you’re at a baseball game or just watching on TV, remember how special these players are. They are a testament to the sport and the people who play it. There are no odds that they cannot overcome.