This was a story early today on ESPNDallas.com by Richard Durrett that I found captivating. I found myself calling people who didn’t care about baseball to show them this story. I read it after a recommendation from Jamey Newberg in his daily newsletter and had to pass it along here. After Ogando’s great start today it has been buried on the site.
Here’s a clip —
A.J. Preller was roaming the backfields in the Arizona desert one afternoon in 2004 when he saw a lanky outfielder throwing a ball on a rope to the infield.
Preller, now the Texas Rangers‘ player personnel director, took note of young Alexi Ogando and wondered to himself if the minor leaguer had ever tried to pitch. Ogando wasn’t a bad position player and he could hit the ball a little bit, but Preller saw that arm and body type and pictured a pitcher.
So when Ogando became available in the Double-A phase of the Rule 5 draft in December 2005, the Rangers pounced. The selection cost them $12,500, and by then it was well known that Ogando might have trouble getting into the United States from the Dominican Republic because of his involvement in a human trafficking ring.“A.J. came to me and wanted to draft him,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “I said, ‘Let me get this straight. You want to draft a guy who is an outfielder, turn him into a pitcher and then hope we can get him in the country?’ So we did.”
More than six years later, Ogando is now a member of the Rangers’ rotation. He takes the mound for the second time in 2011 on Monday afternoon in Detroit after going six shutout innings last week in his first major league start.
For the rest of Richard Durrett’s article click here.