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4 signs you have a star player on your team

What my experience writing for the Toronto Blue Jays taught me

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Until August of this year I worked for the Buffalo Bisons, the Toronto Blue Jays' farm team. I saw athletes get promoted to the Major Leagues only to get sent back down to Triple AAA three days later. Conversely, I also witnessed the Blue Jays' top prospect make his Triple AAA debut and crush four home runs in just four games. So what makes these players the best in their organizations?

Obviously athleticism is a must. Simply put, you cannot be a professional athlete unless you have the raw talent to compete physically against the best. However, I was surprised to learn that there are plenty of people who have incredible talent and yet they either never make it or fail to stay in the big leagues.

To be a professional athlete, you must have:

Commitment

The successful players that I was exposed to were constantly striving to be the best versions of themselves. They came in early on game days, took extra hacks in the batting cages, and pushed themselves in the gym. These players devoted their lives to the sport they love and in the end it pays off when they reach their goal of playing for their major league organizations.

To become a professional you have to be committed to that goal, to your team, and to yourself. The sport must become a lifestyle; no MLB player spends a significant amount of their time on the couch eating potato chips, so no one in the MiLB (minor league baseball) or in high school baseball should be either.

Responsibility

So, a majority of these athletes range from the ages of 19-25, with the exception of the eldest being 37, and are from across the country. They either attend college for one to two years and then join the organization or are often drafted right out of high school and jump right into a Minor League experience. These players live by themselves or with their teammates and are expected to be on time to all pre-game workouts, flight departures and community events. 

They could not succeed if they acted like 19-25 year olds generally do when living by themselves for the first time. Players who have the ability to self-regulate do well, while players who act like hooligans experience a much steeper learning curve.

Unity 

One of the athletes was sent down from the Blue Jays after two weeks and rejoined the Bisons. For perspective, two weeks playing for a major league team is an above-average stint. Despite doing a bit better than average, this player was salty about being sent back to the MiLB.

In his first at bat after returning, he hit a ground ball and instead of sprinting down the line trying to beat out the throw, he lightly jogged and obviously got called out. After that stunt, the manager decided to take him out of the game and bench him. 

This player prioritized himself before the team. He was so beaten up about getting sent back down to the minors that he stopped putting forth the effort that was needed for the team to succeed. Ultimately what coaches and managers care about is the team's success, and a player that does not care about that will have dramatically less value than a player that does.

Mental Endurance

Playing for a major league or minor league baseball team calls for long days of pretty much constant hard work. This doesn't just mean hitting a ball or working out; it also means sitting on a bus, meeting with the coach, and being willing to be present at your job all day. These athletes are often playing games six out of the seven days of the week and are traveling on that off day. It takes a special kind of endurance to work these long hours away from their  families and be as successful as they can be.

That endurance is not just a physical one. There's a toughness of the mind-- a work ethic- that is absolutely fundamental to success as a professional athlete.

We see thousands of metro Detroit athletes every year in our 4Frenzy coverage. Check out more articles about high school sports HERE. Don't forget to vote for your favorite person involved in high school athletics below in our 4Frenzy Fan Choice Awards!