Brandon Mann Finally Realizes Major League Dream
The offseason signing of lefthander Brandon Mann barely received a blip on a Rangers press release. He wasn't even invited to big league camp.
Instead, the 34-year-old journeyman headed to minor league camp and went about his work knowing that he was ticketed to open another pro season, his 15th, in the minors.
Mann couldn't give up on his dream of reaching the major leagues, which he chased in Japan and the independent leagues.
The dream was finally realized.
Mann made his major league debut on May 13 and even got to pitch two days later in his hometown of Seattle. The Rangers took note of his stellar start at Triple-A Round Rock and added him to help fill in while righthander Chris Martin was on the disabled list.
"It means everything," Mann said of his callup. "Pretty amazing. It has been a long journey. I'm pretty excited . . . I always told myself I was a big leaguer. To keep grinding it out to get the opportunity, you have to believe that you are."
Mann turned pro as a 27th-round pick by the Rays in 2002 out of high school in Washington.
Mann pitched to a 1.04 ERA and 0.75 WHIP over the first month of the Triple-A season to earn his debut. With the Rangers' bullpen struggling for a second consecutive season, Mann might be called upon throughout the season.
The Rangers signed Mann in January after assistant general manager Josh Boyd watched him throw at Driveline Baseball, the Seattle-area facility also used by righthander Tim Lincecum, whom the Rangers also signed.
Mann said that his phone wasn't ringing off the hook after a mediocre 2017 at Double-A Midland in the Athletics organization. He contemplated life without baseball, but couldn't give it up just yet.
It seems unlikely that Mann is a long-term fit based on his age, but with fellow lefty Jake Diekman headed for free agency, Mann could become an affordable option to consider.
He doesn't want to let go of the majors now that he has reached the summit.
"I was at a point where I didn't want to go back to (independent) ball," Mann said. "I had done it multiple times already, and I believe in my heart that I was definitely capable of pitching in the big leagues. It's crazy how it happens."
Baseball America Q&A: Cody Atkinson (Part 2)
We sent Atkinson video of three Rangers prospects -- Bubba Thompson, Sam Huff, Sherten Apostel -- and asked for his analysis.
>> The Rangers assigned 2017 first-round outfielder Bubba Thompson to low Class A Hickory on May 9. He homered in his second game and owned a .250/.318/.450 batting line through 10 games.