Saturday, March 31, 2012

Contempating Chris Cates

Chris Cates (right) and James Beresford at
the jump rope section during spring training 2008.

I took note earlier in the week when the Twins released a couple of former high draft picks.

Also axed that same day (as were several others) was Chris Cates. Cates' release wasn't as significant as the washing out of a supplemental first-round pick and a third-round pick, but I wanted to take note anyway.

Cates was a noticable player for his size, or more accurately his lack of it. He was listed as 5-foot-3, 145 pounds. The Twins drafted him in the 37th round out of the University of Louisville in 2007, and he ground his way up the farm system until stalling out at Double A.

Chris Cates steps over a hurdle during
a stretching exercise.
Five-three is mighty small for a professional athlete, and Cates couldn't hit enough to make it to the top. It's surprising, really, that he got a chance to go as far as he did. Size matters to scouts. He had to show them something just to get past his diminutive stature.

He had enough to be an "organizational guy." Farm systems exist to develop future major leaguers, but not everybody on a minor league roster is going to make it to the top. Organizational guys are there to fill the gaps and help establish the attitude.

The photos here were taken by my wife during the morning we spent on the minor league side during our 2008 trip to spring training. She was struck by the sight of Cates trying to step over the hurdles in the stretching segment and half-jokingly suggested that he should have a ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) waiver for that exercise.

Cates spent four years chasing a dream that was probably never realistic for him. I doubt he regrets it — although he probably got tired of posing for photos with sometimes teammate Loek Van Mil (7-foot-1) — but he probably also hopes his next endeavor goes better.

1 comment:

  1. Chris is a great guy. I was a high school friend of his and always admired his work ethic. He did amazing things at Louisville and to be drafted shows you that his hard work paid off. Although he never made the show, he did what 99% of young boys can only dream of.. play professional baseball.