As someone who’s covered the California League for a long time, I’ve been hearing it for many years now. Fans look back wistfully and say, “if only I’d known so-and-so was playing for (the Quakes, 66ers or Mavericks).”
Fans miss out on the opportunity to see game’s future stars because they don’t know who these guys are. These days, with so much information on the internet, we know who the high draft picks are, who the hot prospect are before they even put on a uniform for one of the local California League teams.
Last year, third baseman Blake DeWitt was the Dodgers’ No. 8-ranked prospect by Baseball America, and reliever Ramon Troncoso was the Dodgers No. 22-ranked prospect. Both started 2007 with the 66ers, and both were on the Dodgers’ opening day roster in 2008. Very impressive, but they didn’t come out of nowhere, either.
Darren O’Day, the Quakes dominant reliever for the first half of 2007, made the Angels’ opening day roster in 2008. Where was O’Day ranked by Baseball America? He was not ranked among the top 30 last year in the Angels system, and was not ranked this year, either. So you might think you know who from the California League might next make the jump to the big leagues, and you might be wrong.