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Before they were All-Stars: NL edition

Dig into the origins of every player headed to the Midsummer Classic

For some fans, the All-Star Game presented by T-Mobile is their first chance to familiarize themselves with players they don't see very often. Here's our attempt to give them a head start with the origins of every All-Star.

Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
Born: Wilmington, Del.
HS: The Woodlands (Texas) HS
College: Texas State University
Minors: Missoula (R), Visalia (A+), Mobile (AA)
• Goldschmidt was named to the Dean's List every semester he attended Texas State University, which is where he also met his wife, Amy. He received his business management degree from the University of Phoenix in 2013.
• He's the first Texas State alumnus to be named to a Major League All-Star Game and also the first Texas State baseball player to have his jersey retired.
• Owns the all-time records at Texas State for home runs (36) and RBIs (179) and is second in total bases (369). His Bobcats won the Southland Conference Championship in 2009 with a 41-17 record. 

Tweet from @TXSTATEBOBCATS: #GoldyNight #Tonight #6PM #BeatHouston #ItsSunnyOut

A.J. Pollock, OF
Born: Hebron, Conn.
HS: Rham (Conn.)
College: University of Notre Dame
Minors: South Bend (A-), Mobile (AA), Reno (AAA)
• Pollock was the Player of the Year for the state of Connecticut in 2006 and went on to play at the University of Notre Dame, where he became the first player in school history to lead the Fighting Irish in hitting for three consecutive seasons.
• A first-round pick in 2009 (17th overall), Pollock played in the 2011 Double-A All-Star Game with current All-Star teammate Goldschmidt.
• Pollock is a diehard New England Patriots fans who attended last year's Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. Pollock was joined by his wife, Kate, whom he proposed to on a beach in Australia in March 2014, when the D-backs were there to play the Dodgers.

Before they were All-Stars: AL edition

Shelby Miller, P
Born: Houston
HS: Brownwood (Texas) HS
Minors: Quad Cities (A-), Palm Beach (A+), Springfield (AA), Memphis (AAA)
• Miller attended Brownwood (Texas) High School, the same school that produced former TCU quarterback Casey Pachall and Jim Morris, who became a Major League pitcher after spending a decade as a high school teacher. Miller was the middle school quarterback until he suffered a staph infection that allowed Pachall to assume the role.
• After being selected with the 19th overall selection in the 2009 MLB Draft, Miller participated in the 2010 and 2011 Futures Games. His United States teammates in 2010 included fellow 2015 All-Stars Mike Trout and Dee Gordon.
• Miller came within an out of completing his first no-hitter on May 17 at Marlins Park. While pitching at Coors Field for the Cardinals in 2013, he surrendered a leadoff single in the first inning and then retired each of the next 27 hitters he faced.

:: All-Star Game on Fox: Tuesday, Coverage begins 7 ET ::

Kris Bryant, 3B
Born: Las Vegas
HS: Bonanza (Nev.) HS
College: University of San Diego
Minors: AZL Cubs (R), Boise (SS), Daytona (A+), Tennessee (AA), Iowa (AAA)
• Bryant played with the Nationals' Bryce Harper while growing up in Las Vegas. They were together when Harper was 14 and Bryant 13 on the Southern Nevada Bulldogs. There was one game when Bryant pitched a one-hit complete game and Harper homered for the winning run. Bryant also faced Rangers prospect Joey Gallo in high school. Bryant did get a single off Gallo in a game.
• Bryant's father, Mike, was a Minor Leaguer in the Red Sox organization, and he learned from Ted Williams. Mike gives private lessons at a batting cage at his Las Vegas home, which is where Kris learned to hit. Gallo also was a student.
• The Cubs slugger graduated from Bonanza High School in Las Vegas, and donated two sets of uniforms and cleats to the school.

Tweet from @BonanzaBaseball: Thanks to @KrisBryant_23 and @adidasBaseball for the new gear! Bonanza Baseball Appreciates it. #BonanzaAlumni

Anthony Rizzo, 1B
Born: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
HS: Stoneman-Douglas (Fla.) HS
Minors: GCL Red Sox (R), Greenville (A-), Salem (A+), Portland (AA), Tucson (AAA), Iowa (AAA)
• Rizzo was a Red Sox Minor Leaguer in 2008, when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and he met then-Boston pitcher Jon Lester, who overcame anaplastic large cell lymphoma in '06. Now, Rizzo and Lester are teammates on the Cubs, and both are active with their foundations (Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation and Lester's NVRQT), which support kids and families in their battle against pediatric cancer. Rizzo hosts a walk-a-thon and a "Cook Off for Cancer" in Chicago in which celebrity chefs offer their take on ballpark food.
• Rizzo played for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic in March 2013, and in December 2014, he went to Italy with his parents, brother and sister-in-law, including a stop in Rome, where he celebrated Christmas Eve Mass at the Vatican.
• Growing up in Parkland, Fla., which is located near Fort Lauderdale, Rizzo batted .468 with 48 RBIs his senior year. He was a sixth-round Draft pick by the Red Sox in 2007.

Aroldis Chapman, P
Born: Holguin, Cuba
Minors: Louisville (AAA)
• Chapman defected from Cuba in July 2009 before the start of the World Port Tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and he established residence in the principality of Andorra.
• Chapman's hometown of Holguin also produced Major Leaguer Diego Segui.
• Fellow National League All-Star Yasmani Grandal also hails from Cuba. Grandal was a former first-round pick of the Reds in 2010, the same year that Chapman signed a free-agent contract with the Reds.

Todd Frazier, 3B
Born: Point Pleasant, N.J.
HS: Toms River South (N.J.) HS
College: Rutgers University
Minors: Billings (R), Dayton (A-), Sarasota (A+), Carolina (AA), Louisville (AAA)
• Frazier played in the 1998 Little League World Series for the championship team from Toms River, N.J., and he went 4-for-4 in the final game vs. Japan.
• With Toms River South High School, Frazier was also a four-year starter for the basketball team, setting a school record with 27 rebounds in a game.
• Frazier played college baseball for Rutgers University, where former Major Leaguers Bob Tewksbury, Jeff Torborg, Angel Echevarria, Eric Young and David DeJesus also played.

Tweet from @LittleLeague: Congratulations to LL grad @FlavaFraz21 for getting a start on his home field for the #ASG !

Nolan Arenado, 3B
Born: Newport Beach, Calif.
HS: El Toro (Calif.) HS
Minors: Casper (R), Asheville (A-), Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA)
• Arenado was named after Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan. His younger brother, Giants Class A third baseman Jonah Arenado, carries the middle name Brooks for Brooks Robinson -- the player to whom Nolan has been compared. Their older brother's first name is Cousy, after basketball Hall of Famer Bob Cousy.
• He was high school teammates with Yankees catcher Austin Romine.
• Not wanting to spend his money -- he hasn't been in the Majors long -- and wanting to be close to his family, Arenado has been spending his offseasons in the home he grew up in.

DJ LeMahieu, 2B
Born: Visalia, Calif.
HS: Brother Rice (Mich.) HS
College: Louisiana State University
Minors: AZL Cubs (R), Peoria (A-), Daytona (A+), Tennessee (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA)
• The Rockies acquired LeMahieu from the Cubs, along with outfielder Tyler Colvin, for third baseman Ian Stewart and Minor League pitcher Casey Weathers on Dec. 8, 2011.
• Before the Cubs selected him in the second round in 2009, LeMahieu helped LSU to that year's College World Series championship by hitting .347 (17-for-49) in the postseason with three doubles, a triple and a home run. He was 3-for-11 with two RBIs in the College World Series.
• LeMahieu's family moved all over the country when he was young. He lived in California until he was seven, before moving to Las Vegas for one year, then on to Madison, Wis., for five and, finally, Bloomfield Hills, Mich., for another five years. 

Tweet from @DJLeMahieu: Ready for this #LSU bama game what an atmosphere

Troy Tulowitzki, SS
Born: Santa Clara, Calif.
HS: Fremont (Calif.) HS
College: Cal State-Long Beach
Minors: Modesto (A+), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA)
• Talk about a bad news/good news day: On Saturday, Tulowitzki's career-best 21-game hit streak ended during a 3-2 walk-off victory over the Braves at Coors Field. But immediately after the game, Giants manager Bruce Bochy -- needing a replacement for injured Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon -- invited Tulowitzki for his fifth All-Star Game. Tulowitzki had finished fourth in the Esurance All-Star Final Vote.
• There may not be a better place to have Tulowitzki's bat in the lineup than Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. In 25 games (23 starts), he's batted .327 with nine home runs, six doubles, 19 RBIs and a 1.161 OPS.
• Tulowitzki will enter the game tops among NL shortstops in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging and OPS, even though he finished third in the fan voting for the starting lineup.

Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Born: San Diego
HS: Eastlake (Calif.) HS
Minors: GCL Marlins (R), Utica (SS), Kane County (A-), Portland (AA), Frisco (AA), Carolina (AA), Albuquerque (AAA), Oklahoma (AAA)
• His parents, David and Alba, were named George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year in 2012. 
• Gonzalez's father played amateur baseball and was a first baseman on the Mexican National Team. His brother, Edgar, played in the Major Leagues.
• Gonzalez and his two brothers played in the Otay Little League in Tijuana, Mexico, and in the San Ysidro Little League when they later moved to Bonita, Calif. One of those brothers, Edgar, played in parts of two seasons with the Padres.

Yasmani Grandal, C
Born: La Habana, Cuba
HS: Miami Springs (Fla.) HS
College: University of Miami
Minors: AZL Reds (R), Bakersfield (A+), Carolina (AA), Louisville (AAA), Tucson (AAA)
• Born in Cuba, Grandal emigrated to the U.S. in 1999 at the age of 11.
• Grandal was college teammates at Miami with fellow Cuban-born big leaguer Yonder Alonso. Both were first-round picks of the Reds -- Alonso in 2008 and Grandal in '10 -- and were traded together to the Padres in the Mat Latos deal.
• On June 30, 2012, Grandal became the first MLB player in history whose first two career hits were homers from different sides of the plate in the same game.

Tweet from @YazmanianDVL08: Good luck tomorrow boys let's get that ring back home. miamihurricanes #The[]_[]FAM

Zack Greinke, P
Born: Orlando, Fla.
HS: Apopka (Fla.) HS
Minors: GCL Royals (R), Spokane (SS), Wilmington (A+), Wichita (AA), Omaha (AAA)
• Greinke was the youngest active player when he debuted for Kansas City in 2004 at 20 years, seven months and one day.
• He was named the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year after his senior season at Apopka (Fla.) High School in 2002. He went 9-2 with a 0.55 ERA (four earned runs in 65 innings) and 118 strikeouts that season.
• His wife, Emily, was 2008 Miss Daytona Beach USA and a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader.

Tweet from @PerfectGameUSA: Greinke pretty much did it all at the 2002 World Showcase. Here is the video! #Dodgers #Greinke

Clayton Kershaw, P
Born: Dallas, Texas
HS: Highland Park (Texas) HS
Minors: GCL Dodgers (R), Great Lakes (A-), Jacksonville (AA)
• On his high school football team, Kershaw was the center snapping to quarterback Matthew Stafford, now of the Detroit Lions. Kershaw committed to Texas A&M, but he signed with the Dodgers as a first-round pick
• Kershaw has an unprecedented four consecutive ERA titles.
• He's the first Dodgers pitcher with five consecutive All-Star appearances since Fernando Valenzuela had six (1981-86).

Joc Pederson, OF
Born: Palo Alto, Calif.
HS: Palo Alto HS
Minors: AZL Dodgers (R), Ogden (R), Great Lakes (A-), Rancho Cucamonga (A+), Chattanooga (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• An 11th-round pick who committed to USC before signing with Dodgers, the talented rookie is the son of former Dodgers outfielder Stu Pederson.
• Pederson won the organization's Branch Rickey Minor League Player of the Year Award in 2012 and '14, the latter year after becoming the fourth 30-30 player in Pacific Coast League history.
• In 2011, Pederson was demoted from Class A Great Lakes, where he hit .160, to Rookie Level Ogden, where he rebounded to hit .353 working with coach Johnny Washington, who will be his pitcher in the Gillette Home Run Derby presented by Head & Shoulders.

Tweet from @CalClubBaseball: Congrats to Palo Alto HS Alum Joc Pederson on being selected to the NL All Star Team. Quite an honor for a rookie.

Dee Gordon, 2B
Born: Windermere, Fla.
HS: Avon Park (Fla.) HS
College: Southeastern University
Minors: Ogden (R), Great Lakes (A-), Chattanooga (AA), Albuquerque (AAA)
• Gordon's father, Tom, played 21 seasons in the Majors, primarily as a reliever, compiling a lifetime 3.96 ERA and earning three All-Star Game selections.
• His brother, Nick, was drafted fifth overall by the Twins in 2014 as a shortstop.
• The Marlins speedster was a standout high school basketball player who was recruited by Louisville head coach Rick Pitino.

Giancarlo Stanton, OF
Born: Panorama City, Calif.
HS: Notre Dame (Calif.) HS
Minors: GCL Marlins (R), Jamestown (SS), Greensboro (A-), Jupiter (A+), Jacksonville (AA)
• A three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball in high school, Stanton once played a football game against Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
• Former University of Southern California coach Pete Carroll recruited Stanton to the school's football team. He also received football scholarship offers from UCLA and UNLV.
• Stanton committed to play college baseball at Tulane, but instead signed with the Marlins after they took him with the 76th overall pick in the 2008 Draft.

Tweet from @Giancarlo818: Ha! Where it all began RT @rocketballer8: Just spotted @Giancarlo818 in my cousins ND yearbook!

Ryan Braun, OF
Born: Mission Hills, Calif.
HS: Granada Hills (Calif.)
Minors: Helena (R), West Virginia (A), Brevard County (A+), Huntsville (AA), Nashville (AAA)
• Braun was raised just up the 101 highway from Dodger Stadium and attended the same high school that produced former Rangers All-Star Gary Matthews Jr. and former Brewers pitcher Kameron Loe. 
• He went across the country to attend the University of Miami, where Braun played shortstop on a team that included future big leaguers Gaby Sanchez, Jon Jay, Danny Valencia and fellow former All-Star Chris Perez.
• The Brewers made Braun the fifth overall pick in the stacked 2005 Draft, which produced nine All-Stars from the first round alone. Besides Braun, there is Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Ricky Romero, Troy Tulowitzki, Andrew McCutchen, Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz.

Francisco Rodriguez, P
Born: Caracas, Venezuela
HS: Juan Lovera (Venezuela)
Minors: Butte (R), Boise (SS), Lake Elsinore (A+), Rancho Cucamonga (A+), Arkansas (AA), Salt Lake (AAA)
• He was raised by his paternal grandparents, who enrolled him in a baseball academy -- La Escuela de Beisbol Menor Graciano Ravelo -- at age 7, mostly to get him out of the house. 
• The Angels signed Rodriguez in 1998 and brought him stateside a year later, assigning him to a pair of Minor League affiliates in Idaho. Rodriguez finished that season with one start at Class A Boise, where the Angels' second-round Draft pick that year, John Lackey, was finishing his first pro season. 
• Rodriguez was a starting pitcher until 2002, when he switched to relief at Double-A Arkansas and eventually earned the nickname "K-Rod" for his high strikeout totals. Among his teammates at Arkansas was another future All-Star closer, Bobby Jenks.


Jacob deGrom, P
Born: DeLand, Fla.
HS: Calvary Christian Academy (Fla.)
College: Stetson University
Minors: Kingsport (R), Savannah (A-), St. Lucie (A+), Binghamton (AA), Las Vegas (AAA)
• deGrom Initially played shortstop at Stetson University with infrequent pitching appearances out of the bullpen before rotation struggles prompted Stetson's staff to convert him to a starter. He never looked back, becoming the first Stetson player to make the Majors since Corey Kluber.
• During his college career, deGrom hit .255 with one home run and a .299 on-base percentage over three seasons. The homer came off future White Sox ace Chris Sale.
• Only 10 Stetson players have ever made the Majors. But deGrom and Kluber shared a podium last year when they won NL Rookie of the Year and AL Cy Young Award honors in the same season.

Tweet from @StetsonBaseball: Former Hatter Jacob deGrom has been named the NL Rookie of the Year @JdeGrom19 #BringTheNoise #GoHatters

Jonathan Papelbon, P
Born: Baton Rouge, La.
HS: Bishop Kenny (Fla.) HS
College: Mississippi State University
Minors: Lowell (SS), Sarasota (A+), Portland (AA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• In addition to Papelbon, five other Bishop Kenny graduates have reached the big leagues, including Orioles right-hander Darren O'Day.
• Papelbon attended Mississippi State University. He got drafted in the fourth round in 2003, the second time he had been drafted. MSU teammate Paul Maholm got drafted in the first round that same season.
• Papelbon played with Brandon Moss in his first Minor League season in 2003, when they played with the Class A Lowell Spinners. Moss made his first All-Star appearance last season with the A's.

A.J. Burnett, P
Born: North Little Rock, Ark.
HS: Central Arkansas Christian HS
Minors: GCL Mets (R), Kingsport (R), Pittsfield (SS), Kane County (A-), Brevard County (A+), Portland (AA), Calgary (AAA)
• Burnett's uniform No. 34 was retired by Central High School in 2002.
• As a prep, he pitched against former All-Star left-hander and future Phillies teammate Cliff Lee.
• Burnett's pitching coach with the 1997 Class A Pittsfield Mets was former Boston Red Sox reliever Bob Stanley.

Gerrit Cole, P
Born: Newport Beach, Calif.
HS: Orange Lutheran (Calif.) HS
College: UCLA
Minors: Bradenton (A+), Altoona (AA), Indianapolis (AAA)
• At UCLA, Cole was the Bruins' "Friday pitcher" and was followed by Trevor Bauer. Rob Rasmussen (Blue Jays) was also on his staff at UCLA.
• At Orange Lutheran High School, Cole was teammates with Brandon Maurer (Padres).
• Cole's girlfriend is Amy Crawford, sister of fellow Bruins product and 2015 NL All-Star Brandon Crawford, although the two never played together at UCLA.

Andrew McCutchen, OF
Born: Fort Meade, Fla.
HS: Fort Meade HS
Minors: GCL Pirates (R), Williamsport (SS), Hickory (A-), Altoona (AA), Indianapolis (AAA)
• Cutch was a teammate of AL All-Star Josh Donaldson on Team Florida, a youth All-Star travel team, and also spun in the same prep circles as Sale and Gordon -- All-Stars from the same Florida neck of the woods.
• As a Fort Meade High School freshman, McCutchen ran the second leg on the state championship 4X100 track relay team.
• His father, Lorenzo, competed in high school football against Gordon's dad, former longtime big league pitcher Tom (Flash) Gordon.

Mark Melancon, P
Born: Wheat Ridge, Colo.
HS: Golden (Colo.) HS
College: University of Arizona
Minors: Staten Island (SS), Tampa (A+), Trenton (AA), Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (AAA), Round Rock (AAA), Pawtucket (AAA)
• Melancon threw to batterymate Nick Hundley at the University of Arizona, where his roommates were Daniel Schlereth and Jason Donald, who both have played in the Majors.
• At high school, Melancon lettered in basketball and football as well as baseball and was a member of the honor roll and the National Honors Society.
• The Bucs closer is a baseball globetrotter who has represented MLB in tours of South Africa, New Zealand and Japan.

Tweet from @Mark_Melancon_: The @pirates signed @ArizonaBaseball @OfficialKBN with their first round pick.Happy to have a #WildCat in a #Buccos uniform! #BearDown

Justin Upton, OF
Born: Norfolk, Va.
HS: Great Bridge (Va.) HS
Minors: South Bend (A-), Visalia (A+), Mobile (AA)
• In high school, Upton was teammates with fellow All-Stars McCutchen (Pirates) and Buster Posey on the Team USA 18U National Team.
• He also played in the 2004 Aflac All-American Classic that featured Ike Davis, Cameron Maybin, Austin Jackson and Jeremy Hellickson, as well as Posey and McCutchen.
• Growing up in Virginia, Upton was a batboy and occasional pinch-runner for the Tidewater Mets, a star-studded travel squad that included David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman and Upton's older brother, Melvin. 

Madison Bumgarner, P
Born: Hickory, N.C.
HS: South Caldwell (N.C.) HS
Minors: Augusta (A-), San Jose (A+), Connecticut (AA), Fresno (AAA)
• As a toddler, Bumgarner's first spoken word was "ball." A photograph of him taken when he was 15 months old depicts him holding a baseball in his left hand.
• Bumgarner has insisted that the tale of him giving a 5-day-old bull calf to Ali, his high school sweetheart, as a wedding present is exaggerated. He said that Ali simply wanted a calf and he bought her one.
• He pitched in the 2007 Aflac All American Classic in a game that featured fellow All-Stars Grandal and LeMahieu, as well as Matt Harvey, Rick Porcello, Jason Heyward and Freddie Freeman.

Tweet from @SouthCaldwell1: We are sending out how proud we are of you Madison Bumgarner! MVP #WorldSeriesChampions

Brandon Crawford, SS
Born: Mountain View, Calif.
HS: Foothill (Calif.) HS
College: UCLA
Minors: Salem-Keizer (SS), San Jose (A+), Connecticut (AA), Richmond (AA), Fresno (AAA)
• Crawford rooted for the Giants while growing up in the Bay Area. His profoundly sad expression was captured by a San Francisco Chronicle photographer at a September 1992 game during what was expected to be the Giants' final series in San Francisco before moving to Tampa.
• While attending and playing baseball for UCLA, Crawford struck out three times in a March 31, 2006, game against future Giants teammate Tim Lincecum, then the ace for the University of Washington.
• Mixed loyalties: The longtime boyfriend of Brandon's sister, Amy, happens to be Pirates ace Cole, a fellow National League All-Star.

Joe Panik, 2B
Born: Yonkers, N.Y.
HS: John Jay (N.Y.) HS
College: St. John's University
Minors: Salem-Keizer (SS), San Jose (A+), Richmond (AA), Fresno (AAA)
• A diligent student, Panik graduated with a 4.0 GPA from John Jay High School in Hopewell Junction, N.Y. He was named a third-team Academic All-America selection as a junior at St. John's University, where he maintained a 3.8 GPA while majoring in financial management.
• Panik played on John Jay's varsity squad as an eighth-grader at Van Wyck Junior High.
• In January, Panik accompanied Willie Mays when the Giants took the 2014 World Series trophy to several venues in New York, the franchise's home before it moved West in 1958.

Buster Posey, C
Born: Leesburg, Ga.
HS: Lee County (Ga.) HS
College: Florida State University
Minors: AZL Giants (R), Salem-Keizer (SS), San Jose (A+), Fresno (AAA)
• Posey's full name is Gerald Dempsey Posey III. His father, known as Demp, was nicknamed Buster as a youth and passed it on to his son.
• He made national headlines during his junior season at Florida State when he played all nine defensive positions and hit a grand slam in a win over Savannah State.   
• A finance major at Florida State University, Posey made the Dean's List in the fall of 2005 and '07.

Tweet from @FSU_Baseball: Congrats to @BusterPosey on his 3rd All-Star Game selection.

Matt Holliday, OF
Born: Stillwater, Okla.
HS: Stillwater (Okla.) HS
Minors: AZL Rockies (R), Asheville (A-), Salem (A+), Carolina (AA), Tulsa (AA), Colorado Springs (AAA)
• Holliday attended Stillwater High School while his father, Tom, served as the head coach at nearby Oklahoma State University. Current White Sox manager Robin Ventura and former Major Leaguer Jeromy Burnitz both babysat Holliday and his brother, Josh, while playing for their father.
• His father, Tom, is the current pitching coach for Auburn University; his brother, Josh, is the head coach at Oklahoma State University; and his uncle, Dave, is a special assistant to the general manager for the Braves.
• The Cards slugger earned All-American honors as a high school senior in both football and baseball, but he passed on an opportunity to play quarterback for Oklahoma State University to instead play professional baseball.

Carlos Martinez, P
Born: Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic
Minors: Quad Cities (A-), Palm Beach (A+), Springfield (AA), Memphis (AAA)
• Martinez was raised in Puerto Plata, where he became close childhood friends with the late Oscar Taveras, who would later be his Major League teammate.
• The hurler long admired soon-to-be Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez and was tagged with the nickname "Baby Pedro" for the similarities people see in the size, personality and mechanics of the two pitchers.
• During his climb to the Majors, Martinez struck out nearly one of every four batters he faced.

Yadier Molina, C
Born: Bayamon, Puerto Rico
HS: Ladislao Martinez (Puerto Rico) HS
Minors: Johnson City (R), Peoria (A-), Tennessee (AA), Memphis (AAA)
• His father (Benjamin Molina Sr.) was an amateur second baseman in Puerto Rico's professional baseball league. In addition to coaching his sons, Benjamin Sr. also coached future Major Leaguers Ivan Rodriguez, Bernie Williams and Jose Hernandez.
• His brothers Bengie and Jose also had extended Major League careers, and all three Molina brothers have won a pair of World Series rings.
• Molina began playing professionally at 15, after his father scheduled a workout for him with the Hatillo Tigres of the Double-A Puerto Rican league. Molina, playing with men up to 40 years old, won a starting job immediately.

Jhonny Peralta, SS
Born: Santiago, Dominican Republic
HS: Collejo Pedagojico (Dominican Republic)
Minors: Columbus (A-), Kinston (A+), Akron (AA), Buffalo (AAA)
• Peralta grew up in Santiago, Dominican Republic, though he has made the United States his permanent home for the last several years after signing with the Indians as a non-drafted free agent in 1999.
• In his fifth and final season in the Minor Leagues, Peralta was named the International League Most Valuable Player after batting .326 with 15 homers, 44 doubles and 86 RBIs with Triple-A Buffalo.
• Peralta received the Lou Bourdreau Award in 2004 as the Indians' Minor League Player of the Year, when he helped lead Buffalo to win the Governors' Cup and become the champions of the International League.

Trevor Rosenthal, P
Born: Lee's Summit, Mo.
HS: Lee's Summit West (Mo.) HS
College: Cowley County Community College
Minors: GCL Cardinals (R), Johnson City (R), Quad Cities (A-), Springfield (AA), Memphis (AAA)
• Rosenthal grew up in a suburb of Kansas City and became the first player drafted out of Cowley County Community College (Kan.) since lefty Dustin Richardson in 2003.
• The closer was a member of an exceptionally successful 2009 Draft class for the Cardinals that included Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly, Matt Carpenter, Rosenthal and Matt Adams
• Rosenthal began his collegiate career as a shortstop and logged only 4 2/3 regular-season innings before the Cardinals selected him as a pitcher in the 23rd round of the Draft.

Michael Wacha, P
Born: Iowa City, Iowa
HS: Pleasant Grove (Texas) HS
College: Texas A&M
Minors: GCL Cardinals (R), Palm Beach (A+), Springfield (AA), Memphis (AAA)
• Wacha played collegiately at Texas A&M University and actually made his college recruiting visit there the same weekend Shelby Miller did. Miller, who skipped college to turn pro, would later become Wacha's teammate in St. Louis.
• Wacha's uncle, Dusty Rogers, played five seasons in the Reds' Minor League system from 1984-88.
• Wacha finished his career as an Aggie ranking fourth in program history with 336 strikeouts, sixth with 27 wins and 10th with a 2.53 ERA.

Tweet from @MichaelWacha: Finally game day for Texas Aggies! BTHOrice #gigem

Bryce Harper, OF
Born: Las Vegas
HS: Las Vegas HS
College: College of Southern Nevada
Minors: Hagerstown (A-), Potomac (A+), Harrisburg (AA), Syracuse (AAA)
• He was a college teammate of Yankees reliever Chasen Shreve.
• Harper and Cubs All-Star Bryant grew up in Las Vegas at the same time. They often played against each other, but occasionally, they played on local All-Star teams together.
• Harper won the prestigious Golden Spikes Award in 2010, given to the nation's top amateur baseball player. That season, he hit .443 with 31 home runs and 98 RBIs for the College of Southern Nevada to become only the second junior-college player to win the award. 

Tweet from @Bharper3407: Where it all started! Las Vegas highschool! #wildcats #oldschool

Max Scherzer, P
Born: St. Louis
HS: Parkway Central (Mo.) HS
College: University of Missouri
Minors: Visalia (A+), Mobile (AA), Tucson (AAA)
• Scherzer graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA and was an Honor Roll student all four years.
• While in college, Scherzer was named to the 2005 All-Big 12 Conference Baseball Team. Also on that team were fellow Major Leaguers Alex Gordon, Cliff Pennington, Taylor Teagarden, Drew Stubbs, Corey Brown and Joba Chamberlain.
• Scherzer was reunited with Chamberlain when both played for the Tigers. In Detroit, Scherzer also pitched in the same rotation as American League All-Star David Price.