Monday, November 18, 2013
Minor Matters: Coming Full Circle
Minor league cards are fun. Whether it's seeing a top prospect in their younger days, or simply seeing a player rise through the system, minor league cards are a fun addition to any collection. But perhaps my favorite minor league cards are of players who leave the system long before hitting paydirt for another organization.
And sometimes those careers come full cycle. The Pirates AA affiliate put out a set in 2004 that chronicled all the players that had made it to the bigs on their way through Altoona, whether they ended up in Pittsburgh or not. The set had a bunch of Pirates players, but also a few surprises of guys who looked like minor league veterans or organizational guys who would eventually get their cup of coffee (or more) elsewhere.
Enter D.J. Carrasco. He spent parts of 2000 and 2001 with the Curve, putting up some unimpressive stat lines as a 23 and 24 year old before getting bumped down to High A in 2002 at the ripe old age of 25. His baseball career looked pretty lost.
But a stint in Japan somehow revived his career, where he established himself in the far from overwhelming Royals bullpen in the mid 2000's. D.J. would sign with the Pirates in 2010, pitching fairly well in 55 innings before a mid season trade to Arizona.
His career seems to have fizzled out shortly after. But it's still a pretty impressive story for a guy who was pitching in A ball at 25.