Most guys who wind up on a 40-man roster were high draft picks or long sought-after international free agents. Most guys who become high draft picks or international free agent signings were on scouts’ radars when they were 16 years-old or younger. These days it’s just not all that typical for a guy who is in the bigs or on the verge of it to have first been noticed when he was already out of high school.
Giants minor league reliever Jake Smith is an exception to that. And quite an exception he is. The hard-throwing prospect, who will likely pitch at Double-A and maybe Triple-A this year, played on a league for home schooled kids back in South Carolina and then played for a small college, all while never getting a sniff from scouts. He was first noticed while working on the grounds crew for the Giants’ farm team at low-A Augusta. He was mowing the grass and dragging the infield when Felipe Alou and some other Giants officials came through town and got a look at him throwing. After some work and adjustments the Giants drafted him in the 48th round and now he’s on the 40-man and could very well be in the Giants’ pen one day soon.
Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury-News has his story and it’s a great one. Go check it out.