Two of South Jersey’s Best Make Minors

by Marc Narducci | Jul 3, 2015
Two of South Jersey’s Best Make Minors Two of South Jersey’s Best From Last Year Making The Minor League Climb

Last season, two of South Jersey’s top baseball players embarked on a professional career right out of high school and the paths of Joe Gatto from St. Augustine and Bryan Dobzanski of Delsea shows how truly difficult the climb to the Major Leagues can be.

Both were compensated well for signing with their respective teams. Gatto was selected in the second round by the Los Angeles Angels--yet another Cape Atlantic League player taken by that franchise.

You might have heard of the other one, a pretty fair outfielder named Mike Trout, the Millville product who is the reigning American League Most Valuable Player and who will be headed to his fourth consecutive all-star game.

Trout also signed out of high school, and rose quickly to the big leagues. Nobody should use that as a blueprint because Trout is the exception.

Trout was selected on the first round (25th overall in 2009), and by 2012 he was already making his first all-star team.

Many of the youngsters who are drafted out of high school often have to take the long, hard climb to the big leagues.

That is certainly the case for Gatto and Dobzanski, two hard-throwing rightanders.

Gatto was selected in the second round, the 53rd overall pick of the 2014 First Year Player Draft, and he signed for a bonus of $1.2 million. Had he not signed, Gatto, who hails from Hammonton, would have attended the University of North Carolina.

Gallo played for two teams last season after signing with the Angels. He was with the Rookie League Angels, where he went 2-1 with a 5.67 ERA in 10 games, including six starts.

He also pitched one game for the Orem (Utah) Owlz, another rookie league team. This season in his first two starts for Orem, he was 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA. The hard-throwing Gatto had 10 strikeouts in seven innings.

Again, stats aren’t much of a concern at this level. The Angels just want the hard-throwing righthander to develop.

As for Dobzanski, he was a 29th round draft choice of the St. Louis Cardinals. He was ready to attend the University of Louisville when, at the last minute, the Cardinals came in with an offer he couldn’t refuse.

All draft choices selected after the 10th round have a slot value of $100,000. Dobzanski signed for $700,000.

Like Gatto, Dobzanski is also in rookie ball, with the Johnson City (Tennessee) Cardinals. Since rookie leagues have just gotten underway, Dobzanski has just one start: he allowed six hits and three earned runs.

As pitchers, the Major Leagues is a while away for them, but the good news for both players is that their teams should be patient with their development.

When players sign big signing bonuses, a team will give them as long as possible to develop. So don’t expect any Trout-like quick rise to the majors, but Gatto and Dobanski have great potential, making both interesting to follow as they try to climb the difficult minor league ladder.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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