It’s always exciting for teams to see their players selected to the MLB All-Star Game. The team and fans joyously rally behind the player(s) to celebrate such an important individual achievement. It’s a yearly tradition as every team is required to have at least one selection, but that tradition has taken on a deeper meaning for the Cincinnati Reds in 2014 as all four of their All-Stars have spent their entire U.S. professional career in the Queen City organization.
In the world of free agency, it is becoming more and more rare that a player spends his entire career with the same team — heck, it’s becoming unlikely that player spends five full years with the same team. So when a team is able to bring a player through its farm system and into the All-Star Game, it is a big deal.
Johnny Cueto was signed by the Reds as an amateur free agent in 2004, Todd Frazier was drafted in the first round (37th overall) of the 2007 MLB draft, Devin Mesoraco was also drafted in the first round (15th overall) in the same draft, and Aroldis Chapman was signed as an amateur free agent in 2010.
Such an accomplishment is not only worth noting for each player, but for the entire Reds organization. It shows the wonderful work being done by many different departments in the organization — scouts, minor league coaches, instructors, etc. To see just how uncommon this is, take a look at the starters for the AL All-Star team and see how many of them are still with their original organization:
C Matt Wieters (with original organization)
1B Miguel Cabrera (not with original organization)
2B Robinson Cano (not with original organization)
SS Derek Jeter (with original organization)
3B Josh Donaldson (not with original organization)
DH Nelson Cruz (not with original organization)
OF Jose Bautista (not with original organization)
OF Mike Trout (with original organization)
OF Adam Jones (not with original organization)
For an organization with a great deal of lower-level farm system talent, it is a promising sign for things to come. The Reds have shown an ability to draft and development homegrown talent into successful major league contributors, something that has fueled the franchise’s turnaround since 2010. And going forward, it is such development and depth that will determine how the next generation will play out for the organization.
But for now, it is a time to celebrate for the Reds internally. While the four stars will do celebrating of their own, the Reds’ front office deserves credit for the people they have in place throughout the organization. After all, having four of homegrown players in the Midsummer Classic is quite the accomplishment, no matter which organization it is.