I've talked to uninformed people who see the big baseball contracts some have, are cynical by nature, and are opinionated and not interested in being confused with the facts.
Such as the fact that it is such a tough climb to get to the big leagues; many qualified guys don't quite get there despite years of trying; and the really big money goes to only a few hundred players - in the entire world.
One such guy trying to climb up the ladder in the Mets' minors is Matt Pobereyko.  
Maybe a name you missed along the way.
Matt was signed by the Mets this spring after being released by Arizona after pitching well in 2 brief stops in rookie ball and then not well in one other level.  He was then released.
It is my understanding he was not drafted and first played Indy Ball.  On July 1, 2016, his team, the Florence Freedom sold his contract to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
I read the following, written at that time:
“I came back to my phone during batting practice and I saw I'd a missed call from their independent league scouting director.  I called him back - and I was signed.  It was unbelievable, a pretty emotional moment.  It’s going to be tough to leave my teammates, but my goal was always to get picked up and it finally happened.”
The Freedom signed Pobereyko out of the 2016 California Winter League and the right-hander has been one of the best arms on the pitching staff, posting a team-leading 1.33 ERA in 20 1/3 innings (20 appearances). The reliever allowed only 10 hits and 10 walks on the season, while striking out 31 and holding opponents to a .141 batting average.
“Pobereyko was tremendous for us and we knew it was only a matter of time before an organization took a chance on him,” Florence Manager Dennis Pelfrey said. “He’s a hungry player with great character and work ethic. I won’t be surprised if he makes it to the Major League level. We are extremely happy for him and he will be missed.”
Pobereyko was also dominant in the 2016 California Winter League, allowing just two earned runs (1.05 ERA), while striking out 17 in 13 1/3 innings. In the spring of 2015, Pobereyko was an all-region honoree at Kentucky Wesleyan College, finishing with a 1.84 ERA and a school-record 104 strikeouts in his senior season.
So what's Matt done in 2017 for the Columbia Fireflies after the Mets signed him in June? 
In 34 innings, 53 Ks (14 Ks per 9 innings), 2-2, and a 3.15 ERA...wait, 14 Ks per 9 innings???  WOW - that's pretty excellent, and he's had a fine season, all things considered.
Basically, he's had just 3 bad outings in 23 relief appearances.
He will, though, already be 26 next season - and by my very informal calculation, this clear success by Pobereyko in 2017 has lifted him barely onto the top 15 list of best relievers in the Mets minors system (including the two guys - Rhame and Callahan - that both just promoted).  The recent trade dumps by the Mets brought in 5 relievers, all of whom are (in my book) ranked ahead of Matt.
Hopefully, though, Matty P will continue his outstanding progress of 2017 in 2018, and inch his way further up the ladder to that elusive major league status and career, much like TJ Rivera has.
So, dear reader, the next time a friend gives you that "they're SO overpaid, just to play a kid's sport" drivel,  you tell that dumb dumb about the treacherous, long-odds journey guys like Matt Pobereynko make in pursuing that elusive big league dream. 
Matt, let me just say:
I AM watching and I DO appreciate your efforts.  Best of success in 2018.


Mack Ade said...

wasn't this guy a border guard at the Ukraine border?

nice story

Thomas Brennan said...

He had to pitch well or get sent to a Siberian gulag. Wait, isn't that Vegas?

Thomas Brennan said...

Craig Carton arrested on very serious fraud charges??

Gary Seagren said...

Thomas as always great article but to me if your in the top 1% in any endeavor you make the big bucks you take the heat it's what makes the world go round (now more pay for the minor leaguers is an article for another day). I know I sound like a broken record but there was a time I could go to a game, park, buy a ticket, get a dog and drink and enjoy a game for 10-15 bucks and now I need a loan for the same services and it wasn't always about player salaries. To be a fan we have to live with it and I do but I'll never understand why a baseball player who has played ball for most of his life and through the minors to the majors can't perform basic baseball plays like bunting, hit and run, FEET first sliding, and hitting the cutoff man to name a few and as an example: Amed Rosario who right after he came up tried to field a ball in the hole by getting in front of the ball instead of back handing it as the boys in the booth commented! How in the world did he get this far and no one worked with him on this?

Thomas Brennan said...

Gary, I agree - big talents, especially those with big gate appeal, deserve really big bucks. What drives me nuts is people I talk to who (when I tell them a guy may play 2 years and make $1 million after making peanuts in the minors for years, they come back and say it is still too much to pay guys for a kid's game.

I feel like Robin Hood - I want to see the underdogs with short careers make some $$. After years of toiling for les than the minimum wage, I am glad to see Travis Taijeron make $90,000 for a month in the majors, even if he finds out he can't cut it. I like to see some reliever make it to the big leagues and get smacked around because if he is there for 2 months, he makes some real money for once. I'm not only thrilled to see Paul Sewald succeed, I'm thrilled that he is earning almost $500,000 this year. Baseball is a VERY easy profession to fail in, so if there is not a pennant race on the line, let the kids make some bread.

And yes, guys need better fundamentals - frankly, I cringed Monday when repeat offender Juan Lagares slid hand first just in front of a tag at 2B - protect the hands, dude - feet first, feet first.

Mack's Mets © 2012