On a Saturday night in Kingsport, Tenn., the highest draft pick in Texas A&M – Corpus Christi baseball history will make his debut, getting the starting nod against the Kingsport Mets as a member of the Greeneville Astros.
After a stellar season for the Islanders in 2012, Daniel Minor will begin his professional career as a member of the Houston Astros organization at the teams Rookie League affiliate in the Appalachian League. Minor was the first selection in the ninth round of the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, going No. 279 overall to the Astros.
"It has been fun getting into Tennessee," said Minor. "Being in a new state and having a new lifestyle where I get up, go to the field, play a game, go home and repeat it the next day.
"It's a dream come true. Everyday baseball is a great lifestyle; I get a chance to always work on getting better and helping my team out."
The former Islanders pitcher will move right into the starting rotation for Greeneville, getting that start on Saturday after waiting his turn behind players who were already on the roster in Spring Training.
"The first few games, I have just been in the stands charting the games," said Minor. "Getting to see it from that angle gives me confidence that I will be able to use my four pitches to be successful."
The adjustment has been an easy one for Minor thanks to a welcoming group of players, many who were with the team before, and coaches in the organization.
"The guys are great, everybody gets along," said Minor. "This team only has about 10-12 people from this draft, with the others being drafted last year or free agent signings."
The initial plan for Minor is to be a starter, but things could change depending on performance on the mound. After having the most innings pitched for the Islanders this season, the time between the end of the season and the draft has Minor ready for a second season, this time with Greeneville.
"They told me I was going to be starter right now for sure, and maybe go to the bullpen depending on how things go," said Minor. "We will play around 68 games in two-and-a-half months, so it is just a matter of how I feel during the season.
"I took some time off after the Southland Conference Tournament, and started throwing again just before I got drafted, so I feel great right now and I am ready to get back to business."
First pitch for Minor's professional debut is scheduled for 5 p.m. CST, with more information being available at www.GreenevilleAstros.com.
Other former Islanders in the professional ranks include pitchers Todd Simko and Jake Liedka, with former shortstop Brycen Bell being the only position player in the group. Simko is in the South Atlantic League playing for the Hagerstown Suns, the Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals. Liedka is playing independent ball in the Frontier League for the Normal CornBelters, while Bell plays in the independent Pecos League for the Roswell Invaders.
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