Baseball Pitcher

There has been a lot written lately about the treatment and the pay of Minor League Baseball Players.

Let’s be totally honest, for years the Minor Leagues has been the black eye of professional baseball.

Yet people on both sides refuse to do what it’s going to take to make it better.

Earlier this year a lawsuit was filed against Major League Baseball about the pay of the Minor League Players.

Read about it here.

As a former Minor League pitcher I intimately understand the Fantasy and Reality of Minor League Baseball.

The truth is Major League baseball at the very least is taking somewhat of an advantage of young players, their parents and their dreams of playing Major League Baseball someday.

They rarely tell these young players the truth about their Scouting evaluations.  If they did a lot players might not sign.

I know that the Minor League System is nothing more than a Major League Team’s Scouting Department and GM’s opinion of a 18 to 23 old player’s projected skill level.

The truth is most scouting departments and coaches don’t have a clue of how to develop a player.

90% of Major League Players got their on their own.  The only thing they learned in the Minors is that they don’t want to go back to the Minors.

I hear from Minor Leagues pitchers all the time and I am amazed at what some Minor League pitching coach or instructor told them about what it’s going to take to make it to the Major Leagues.

They don’t have a clue.

But whining about it is not going to change it.

7 Unspoken Truths About Pitching In the Minor Leagues

  1. Scouts and Teams will lie to get you to sign.  It’s just negotiations, I can hear them now.  It’s a business and you better treat it that way.  Your signing bonus is one of the few opportunities you will have to get anything out of the Major League Team financially until you reach the Big Leagues.
  2. What got you drafted won’t get you to the Major Leagues.  The truth is most scouts are wrong, kind of like the local weather person.  They can only take a guess of how well you are going to pitch 3-5 years from now.
  3. You don’t have teammates.  Whether they admit it or not they want to see you fail, in some sick way it makes them feel better about themselves.  The truth is whether or not your teammates sucks has no impact on whether you can pitch.  You are not getting to the Major Leagues by being the best worst pitcher on your A-Ball Team.
  4. Politics and Signing Bonuses Matter.  The more money the team has invested in you, the more opportunities you will get.  Once you get to the Minor Leagues High A-Ball and above the talent level is all good.  But a lot times the player who got the most money will get moved up, even though they aren’t the best player.  Welcome to the politics of baseball, it’s real, get use to.
  5. Pitching Talent is not enough.  You have to be you own best pitching coach.  Mentally and emotionally the confidence it takes to pitch under extreme pressure is something that has to be intentionally prepared for and practiced.  You are on your own to develop it, Minor League Coaches aren’t going to teach you how to do it.
  6. The Minor League Lifestyle Sucks big time.  You are on your own.  The pay stinks.  You won’t eat very good.  You won’t sleep well.  You can be fired at any time.  If you get hurt they can fire you.  The carrot they dangle is not in your control.  You can only try to make the best of it.  Most players quit, run out money or get released.  The fantasy you had in your mind before you signed becomes a harsh reality after you start playing.
  7. They own you for 7 Years.  The Major League team that signs you owns your rights for 7 years and you can’t do anything about it.  That’s a long time.

I know this sounds negative, guess what it is.

If you plan on surviving the Minor League experience you need to be fully aware of what you’re getting into.

Playing the game is a blast.  Once the game starts the competition will keep you motivated.

But soon after the game ends, reality kicks you in the face.

You live and die with every pitch.  You fantasize about how close you are to the Show.

The fact is most pitchers never get out of low A-Ball.

But you can’t let that stop you.  You can be the one that makes it.

But it will never happen if you don’t accept the reality of the Minor Leagues and learn exactly what you will need to do to survive the mental and emotional roller coaster ride that you will be on everyday.

So please understand this.

There are 3 levels of pitching you have to master if you are going to survive the Minor Leagues.

  • Pitching Fundamentals.  Pitching Mechanics and Pitching Arm Mechanics (How to throw Pitches)
  • Preparation Routines and Practice Habits. (Focused and Intentional)
  • Pro-Level Pitching Skills. Game Day Preparation and Competitive Visualization.

You will never get to the Major Leagues if you focus on the odds, it will kill your confidence.

You have to squarely focus on the reality of the Minor Leagues and what YOU need to specifically do to give yourself every opportunity to reach your max potential.

With a lot of hard work, a little luck and honest expectations of what it’s going to take you might get a chance to do what 99% of the world can only dream about.

Pitch one day in the Major Leagues.

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2 Comments

  • Ken October 23, 2014 at 8:12 am

    great article. Most are better to stay in school. Tyler Beede is a perfect example. 3 years at Vandy goes a long way and he still got a big bonus.

    • Darrell Coulter October 23, 2014 at 9:44 am

      Ken,

      Thanks for the comment. You definitely need to know what your getting into. Reality sets in quick.

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