I was scanning Monday’s transactions and a name jumped out at me – Benji Gil….
The Royals assigned him to Triple-A Omaha on Monday, after going 6-for-12 this spring with a home run and a pair of stolen bases, and representing his home country Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
I was surprised Gil was still around. Growing up in the San Diego area, he became the first Mexican native to be drafted in the first round, picked 19th overall by Texas in 1991. This assignment, should he choose to accept it, will be his fifth team in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, three in the Triple-A International League, one in the now-defunct Triple-A American Association, as well as development stops along with the way back in the early 90s. But he also has a World Series ring for being a contributing part of the 2002 Angels.
I saw him in the late 90s in the Pacific Coast league, playing with Calgary two consecutive years under the umbrella of two different teams; first the White Sox affiliate then the Marlins. I assumed he was much older but he’s still just 32. His numbers peaked at Double-A Tulsa at age 20 (275.346.456) and while he had journeyman years with similar results, he’s an overall .258 minor league hitter; not exactly what you’d like to see from a middle infielder whose reputation is as a hitter.
He’s not on my watch list of course, but he’s now entering his 16th year of pro ball and that by itself is worth a mention. One could look at his career and say it was a disappointment, what was supposed to be full of promise, instead became engulfed in a never-ending stream of bus rides and minor league small towns. But he has that moment in 2002, that one glorious second in time we all strive toward. I imagine if you ask him, he’ll tell you it was all worth it. Yeah, I bet it was…
Babbling in the middle of the night. The joy of this blog is that unlike most of my other work and writing, I can be a giant geek that cares about minor leaguers beyond the uber-prospect. Just a moment of indulgence, I’ll post something more to the point later in the day.