“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – Winston Churchill
Years ago, I remember Ken Griffey Sr. telling me that Major League players had to work a real job during the off-season, and sometimes file for welfare assistance to make ends meet. Major League players.
Back then playing at the professional level was a privilege. Players had to earn every penny. It’s hard to believe that’s true when you look at the signing bonuses that some of today’s young players get before they ever see their first big league pitch. Big contracts with guaranteed money changed the scope of the game by changing the lives of the players who got the money before they earned it.
The game is littered with far too many stories of young players who couldn’t make the commitment, lost their way or just plain walked away from the game. That’s the reality for a sport, where for every player that makes it, there are thousands who don’t.
It’s June again – time for the MLB Draft. And as scouting departments across baseball start shuffling their index cards, young players everywhere wait by the phone for their chance at the big time – being a professional baseball player.
The draft is always a hit or miss proposition. I remember when Chipper Jones was the first overall pick in 1990. More than two decades later, he is winding down what will be a first ballot Hall of Fame career.
I’m sure that the scouts who watched Chipper play in high school will say they had him pegged as a big-time, long-term Major League player. Scouts get paid to be right about players, even though many of them are wrong too often. But it’s their job to take chances.
And with a player like Chipper, how could they miss? He was a can’t-miss prospect with all the physical tools the game requires. But most of all, you could see that he loved and respected the game. His mental fortitude – that desire to overcome all adversity thrown his way – was there from the beginning.
Earning what you are worth
Tools + mental make up + fortitude = skills. And Major League players have the skills. They’ve earned the right to play in “The Show.” Many of them were given the opportunity to play in “The Show” because a lot of money was attached to their legacies in the minors. This created a culture of entitlement and reduced the draft process to a gloried state lottery program; when in fact, reaching this level of competition should be marked by accomplishment and achievement.
That’s why I love that Major League Baseball has instituted a slotting system. Now, as a draftee, you receive compensation based on your current ability and the big money is delayed until you earn it in the majors. Under the new system, MLB scouts will make an evaluation, then place a financial value on prospects’ names and an advisor will ensure they get the money they’re worth.
The new slotting system is changing the culture – and preserving the integrity – of America’s favorite past time. Over the past few years, there have been far too many dollars spent on draft busts. The Minor Leagues is – and should be – all about developing young players’ physical tools (running speed, arm strength, hitting power, etc.) and managing those tools with their above average makeup (discipline, dedication, aptitude, etc.)
So what does it take to make it to the next level? That’s where Diamond Directors comes in. Since 1998, Diamond Directors has been successful in helping young players reach their Major League dreams. One of the things it takes is an evaluation by me. My job is to make sure you are relevant to MLB scouts/advisors and that they understand your value today and in the future from a development perspective.
Since we evaluate and develop talent with a proven methodology and process, this is a unique opportunity for us. The draft is the beginning, but if you aren’t committed to doing what it takes to make it to the Major Leagues, kiss your dreams of million dollar contracts goodbye – quickly.
Reaching the majors is difficult, but not for us. We have a proven method. “Proven” meaning we’ve done this many times before, and “method” meaning we have a documented, patent-pending process. We respect the game that much.
So, keep your eyes on this year’s draft and how it plays out. And remember; pursue your dream with respect for the game.
C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an area scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, CJ has more than 12 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J Stewart has a proven system of development and track record of success that can work for you.