The Golden Baseball League seems to have this habit of generating headlines in a sport dominated by A-Rod, Derek Jeter, and the New York Yankees.
On Saturday afternoon, during the Fox Saturday Game of the Week, the Boston Red Sox were playing host to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Nothing out of the ordinary, except that the Phillies are in dangerous team slump where poor hitting and pitching have seemingly affected everyone.
The Red Sox on the other hand, after being counted out of the playoff race through the first couple of months of the 2010 season, are lurking in the weeds so to speak, of the American League East.
David Ortiz can be a fan favorite depending on the mood of the fans, Dice-K is hit or miss, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are holding the staff together, the heart and soul, Dustin Pedroia is having a down year, compared to his standards, and speedy center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury appears to be out for an undetermined amount of time with a recurring rib injury.
What we have here looks like the perfect scenario for the new underdogs of the division, and when your stud center fielder goes down, call-up someone from the minors.
In this case, Daniel Nava’s journey to history is not as ordinary as one’s struggle through minors. Nava, turned disappointment into MVP numbers to become one of the best prospects that no one has heard of.
Nava’s 2006 senior season at Santa Clara University, was what you can call outstanding: a .395 average, 37 RBI, .476 OBP and .530 SLG. Unfortunately for him, that did not get him drafted, setting of a chain of events, a string of ups and downs, culminating in taking the first pitch he saw in the Majors and belting a grand slam.
Unfortunately, I only caught the last two innings of the game but was thrilled too see his family in stands recording every moment.
Once leaving Santa Clara, Nava tried his hand at independent league ball, specifically the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League.
Nava who was recently interviewed by Mike Andrews of SoxProspects.com, said he attempted to play for the Chico Outlaws not because they were close to home, but because they were the only ones who had contacted him.
Despite not playing in 2006, in part to being cut by the Chico squad, Nava made the team in ’07 and put together one of the best seasons in GBL history.
In 72 games, Nava batted .371, with 12 home runs, 59 RBI, had an OBP of over .470 and slugged nearly.630. Over one-third of his 95 hits went for extra bases.
The baseball world finally began to take notice of this former Bronco.
Nava became the first GBL rookie to win MVP honors and Baseball America ranked him as the No. 1 Indy prospect in America.
Two years in the Red Sox organization has proved all the naysayers wrong.
A combined .345 batting average at three different classes prior to ’10 meant a promotion to the big club was only a matter of time, and in typical Nava fashion, he let his play and ability speak for itself.
Devon Teeple is an author for the Business of Sports Network, which includes the Biz of Baseball, the Biz of Football, the Biz of Basketball and the Biz of Hockey. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Devon is also available for hire or freelance opportunities.
Devon is a former student within Sports Management Worldwide’s Baseball General Manager Class. Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective and is a intern with The Football Outsiders and contributor with the Plymouth River Eels.
Currently, Devon is a Branch Manager at a financial institution in Southern Ontario Canada. He can be reached at email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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