Where were some of the biggest names in baseball before they were the big names?
We could glance at Baseball Reference to see what schools they attended, and when they were drafted, but when it comes to what happened after the draft, some of them didn't get much respect -- at least in regard to being named top prospects.
For starters, when Oakland A's designated hitter Khris Davis was first scouted when he was a seventh-round draft pick by the Milwaukee Brewers out of Cal State Fullerton in 2009, they weren't too keen on his base-running and fielding ability. That was rather accurate, according to MLB.com's Jim Callis and Mike Rosenbaum. But it was his hitting that stood out, and ultimately led to his success.
"He never ranked higher than 13th on the Brewers' Top Prospects list, but that one tool got him to the big leagues and resulted in 133 homers in his first three seasons in Oakland before he tailed off this year," Callis and Rosenbaum write.
Now, we know Davis is not having a season that he's used to at the plate.
Davis is hitting .227/.300/.389 with 17 home runs. The 2018 home run leader recently mentioned he's aware of his performance at the plate. But he's still helping the A's, who can see the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of the postseason.
Across the bay, Kevin Pillar had a similar situation happen to him.
The Giants outfielder went undrafted as a junior in 2010 even though he set an NCAA Division II record with a 54-game hitting streak at Cal State Dominguez Hills in 2010. A year later, he was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 32nd round and he signed for ... $1,000.
"He didn't move the prospect needle much after winning low Class-A Midwest League honors in his first full pro season, climbing only as high as No. 15 on MLB Pipeline's Blue Jays Top 30, yet he has carved out a career as one of the better defensive center fielders in the big leagues."
They call him Superman for a reason.
And that $1,000 he earned originally? Well, Pillar's making $5.8 million this season.