There are many players working their way up through the minor leagues. Thousands.
That is one of the cool things about the minors. Each year, there are some new guys hoping to make it.
I now follow the Kentucky minor league teams closely, and a few others. I like to keep tabs on the Lexington Legends, Indianapolis Indians, and the West Virginia Power.
I did spend a chunk of time in the Cleveland area and became very familiar with their major league team, and pretty much their entire minor league system.
At one time we had season tickets for the Lake County Captains. We really enjoyed the team, the park, and the area. In fact, when we visit other teams and parks, we compare them to the Captains.
One of the Captains players we really pulled for was Juan Valdes. We liked his scrappy style of play, and his happy attitude. We saw him play with the Captains often.
Well, things happen. Some guys get promoted, and eventually have their major league careers or their cups of coffee. Some guys get released.
Juan kind of disappeared from affiliated baseball. I was happy last year to see his name appear on an independent league team's roster. I was even happier to see his name appear on the roster for one of my favorite teams this year, the Florence Freedom!
Sure, the chances of Juan making it to The Show are not as good these days as they were when he started out, but thats OK. he is coming up on a decade long professional baseball career, and that is cool. That does give a guy some bragging rights.
I have enjoyed catching Juan with the Freedom this year and no matter where his career takes him, we are still pulling for him.