Draft Diaries: Following The Right Path
Major League Baseball holds their annual Amateur Draft from June 4 through the 6 this week, and we have decided to get a look from different angles on the Frisco RoughRiders. A very low percentage of draft picks ever reach the Major Leagues and those that do never take the exact same path to reach it. There will be 1,200 or so players drafted over the next three days and a large majority of them will likely never make it to Double-A, let alone the Big Leagues. Here are stories from those that have or have played roles in those that have.
Scouts always seem to be looking for the five-tool player who can develop into the next great talent for their teams. Many times the player is looked at for one specific position but there are some out there who are looked at for more than one. ‘Riders starter Tim Murphy is one example.
Murphy first drew interest as an outfielder at Rancho Buena Vista High School. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in 2005 but decided to not sign and play baseball at UCLA. He didn’t pitch at all during his freshman year at UCLA but developed into one of their starters for his sophomore and junior years which was a role he said he grew into.
“Pitching was definitely the way to go. I talked to teams about both (being a pitcher and outfielder),” Murphy said. “Pitching was more in the cards than hitting was.”
The Texas Rangers selected Murphy in 2008 as a pitcher. He was with some of his friends at UCLA when he heard the news.
“I wasn’t at home. I was up at UCLA right before finals week and was actually at a buddy’s apartment. I was taken in the third round and I hadn’t really talked to the Rangers much,” Murphy said. “They were not a guess going into the draft. They actually called me a week before the draft during Super Regionals and asked a few questions. Next thing you know come draft day I was at my buddy’s house. We were all just hanging out and my coach called me and said Texas is going to take you in two or three picks. Sure enough two or three picks later Texas picked me and the area scout called me.”
While Murphy was drafted twice, some players are not drafted at all. This can be disappointing but does not mean that baseball careers are over. It can also open the door to free agency. For ‘Riders catcher Zach Zaneski, it was a tough process to go through.
“That was probably the craziest emotional week of my life. You couldn’t get much lower. I mean you can but it was really disappointing and really heartbreaking when I didn’t get drafted,” Zaneski said. “I didn’t have an agent then so I was just hoping that a scout with some team was going to call me and say we need a catcher somewhere.”
Zaneski said it was a few days before he heard anything from anyone. An independent team called him asking if he would play.
“I said okay and I flew to St Louis and played one game for the Midwest Sliders in the Frontier League,” Zaneski said. “Then Rick Matsko, the Rangers’ scout, called me and said they needed a catcher in Spokane. I was like alright so the next day I flew to Spokane, Washington. Within one week, I went from Connecticut to St Louis and from St Louis to Spokane. To actually sign with the Rangers was just a roller coaster.”
Zaneski said guys who don’t get drafted shouldn’t give up if playing baseball is the ultimate goal.
“Have faith and believe that whatever path happens is the right path.”
Written by: Jarah Wright