Baseball and player development have become increasingly data-driven, but the determination of the athlete under evaluation is essential too. At least that’s the case with Mike Ford of the New York Yankees.
During his junior year playing for Princeton (2013), Ford was the Ivy League Baseball Pitcher and Player of the Year. Yet no team picked him in the draft that summer. Today, as one of only eight undrafted free agents playing in the major leagues, his approach to hitting has opened eyes all around baseball.
Ford could have easily given up on baseball after he was passed over. During an interview with Yahoo Sports, he said “It was a little bit embarrassing being passed over in the draft at times. I did well at school at both, but I didn’t have good 95-mph fastball, or I didn’t put up 20 homers. I was just a good player. I don’t think anything 100 percent necessarily stuck out. I think with the Ivy League, a lot of times a lot of those guys kind of fall since they will be seniors, that’s what I’ve heard from a few teams since then. We passed because we thought we could get you next year.”
His embarrassment and disappointment quickly gave way to resolve to prove he belonged in the majors, and that resolve led to his determination not just to generate more power at the plate, but to remain quiet at the plate. Read the rest of this entry »