***The following article was written by Terance Marin, a Chicago White Sox pitching prospect, as a guest of Future Sox. This is part of our Prospect Perspectives series: articles written by the players themselves. Terance tells the story of his very unusual path through pro baseball in the past 15 months, including being signed by the same team twice, stops in two Mexican leagues and independent ball. Adaptations and reinventions have transformed Marin into a pitcher with a real chance at the big leagues, which would have seemed nearly impossible just a little over a year ago. We hope this gives our readers a unique view into a player’s perspective on life in the minors.***
If there is one thing I have learned from playing minor league baseball, it is to expect the unexpected and attempt to find comfort in those uncomfortable situations. When it comes to making plans, they are almost always decided upon at the last minute and even then, there is a good chance that they will be cancelled due to some unforeseen circumstance. Which brings me to some of the ups and downs that I have experienced during this last year or so.
I came out of Spring Training last year feeling confident. I was pitching against AA and AAA players and was able to hold my own getting outs, so I was feeling pretty good with hopes of playing AA (Birmingham). But instead I returned to High A (Winston-Salem), where I had ended the previous season. There was nothing wrong with that, but being the person that I am and like most minor league players, I wanted to move up. Because for me, I know what I am capable of doing and how hard I work to play this game and compete at a higher level. But sometimes you just have to accept the assignment, pitch, and the rest will take care of itself. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t thinking that way in the beginning. I wouldn’t say I was down, but I was bummed out repeating High A for my 3rd season there.
I had a feeling after two horrific outings to start the year there was a chance I would get the news that no ball player ever wants to hear, but that I have seen many fellow teammates have to receive – that I was being released. And it happened. I have always known it was a possibility, but I worked my hardest so that it would never happen. Just like any other job there are good and bad days, my bad days just happened to result in me packing my bags, saying my goodbyes to all of the guys (fam) on the team, calling my parents to give them the bad news and telling them that I was coming home. My hopes and dreams suddenly came to a screeching halt and the future of my baseball career was, for the first time, questionable. But not over.
Within a couple of weeks I received a call from an ex-teammate and buddy, Max Peterson. Peterson was the pitching coach for the Evansville Otters [independent Frontier League], and Max asked me if I was interested in joining their organization. I looked at this as an opportunity for a fresh start and was looking forward to being a starter again. This turned into a great opportunity for me to not only work on what I needed to work on mechanically but also mentally. In hindsight, it was something that I needed.
I started working on the cutter that my pitching coach in Winston (J.R. Perdew) taught me. Indy ball really helped me get a better feel for it and got it to develop to what it is today. I would say that’s definitely a big part of why I am where I am now. It just gave me another pitch to help me get batters out. I also worked on my curve ball, which I hadn’t thrown since high school. Being a starter you have to have more than 3 pitches, and its not just having more pitches but being able to throw all of them for strikes, especially when it counts.
I knew that I was good enough to play professional baseball but mentally I was not where I was the first 2 years while playing in Kannapolis (2011) and Winston-Salem (2012). I needed to gain some of my self-confidence back, my “cockiness” as someone once told me. Being a pitcher, I feel like you need to have that to be successful. Having one of my former teammates as a coach while in Evansville really helped me get settled in and comfortable. I was relaxed and ended up having a great run, and just like that out of the blue I got a call from the White Sox asking me to return and pitch in affiliated ball again.
I began this 2015 season on loan to the Mexican League, playing for Toros de Tijuana. I had never known that there was the option as a player to be loaned to not only a different team, but a different league altogether. I was still under the White Sox organization’s control but playing somewhere else. As to be expected it took some getting used to but the only thing I cared about was still being part of the White Sox, and I was, which was a relief. With any organization there is some adjusting involved, such as new living conditions and getting used to the way they do things. For example their 12 second pitch rule, being unable to use my glove due to its light coloring, pitching in muddy conditions, etc. As I said previously, just trying to get comfortable being uncomfortable.
I’m not gonna lie, there were times where it was hard and definitely tested my patience and made me think “how bad do you really want this?” I was able to roll with the punches and still try my best and do what I can each outing, but even then I’d still have my bad days like any other ball player. The thing is, you can’t make a bad day turn into a bad life. Being a pitcher you have to have a short term memory and just think “what’s next?” So after spending two months in Mexico I received the call back from the White Sox at the beginning of June that I was not just waiting for, but hoping for – asking me to return and start in AAA (Charlotte).
Giving up has never been an option for me and I will continue to pursue my dream and first love, which is baseball. My determination has proven that with hard work, patience and a good attitude, anything is possible. None of this would be possible without the help of my parents and step-parents, and what they sacrificed for me growing up: taking me to practice, travel ball tournaments and always looking for something better for me. As I continue this amazing journey to make the big leagues I would just like to thank God for every obstacle thrown my way (good and bad), the White Sox for giving me the opportunities to keep playing the game, and everyone that has not only helped me but believed in me to do what I am doing today. From my pitching coaches J.R. Perdew (Winston-Salem) for always fighting for the little guy, to my Junior College pitching coach Joey Costa, friends, family, girlfriend, teammates, etc., Thank you!
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