The Fascinating Story of Austin Delmotte
The Rangers released nine players from the Minor Leagues on Tuesday. One of them was pitcher Austin Delmotte.
Never heard of him? Me neither. Not many have. He was only with the Rangers for just over three months after they signed him out of the California Winter League.
Sorry, don’t know every player in the Rangers farm system, so when players get released, it’s always good to check and make sure who they are. You never know.
But the more you look into Austin Delmotte, you realize this is an amazing story and it’s sad to see that he was released by the Rangers. Pay attention because this is good.
Delmotte is from Romeo, Michigan, a small town on the edge of the Metropolitan Detroit. Kid Rock is also from Romeo.
Delmotte was a big star at Romeo, both in baseball and wrestling. He was all-state in baseball and led to the Bulldogs to two regional championships in wrestling. He was an infielder and an outfielder at Romeo, and really good except he seemed to have a lot of injuries to a knee, hamstring and other stuff. He also did some pitching.
So when it was time to pick a college, he decided on Saginaw State University. But he only stayed there one semester. He left when the coach there told him he didn’t have what it takes to be a pitcher. Delmotte really wanted to be a pitcher.
So he transferred to Patrick Henry Junior College in Virginia, played two years there and then decided to go to Madonna University, a Catholic school in the Detroit area that has a good baseball reputation.
He made the team as a pitcher in 2011. In his first start, three innings in, he tore the ligament in his right elbow. He needed Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. He spent the next 18 months rehabbing and then tried again. Two years later, as a senior in 2013, Delmotte tore the ligament again and needed a second Tommy John surgery.
That’s right, two Tommy John surgeries.
That should have been the end of it for someone who graduated with a degree in sports management. It looked like he was going to be a real estate agent – which he did while going through another rehab – and/or the Madonna pitching coach.
But he stayed with it. Austin Delmotte refused to give up. He went through another 18 months of ungodly rehab and this winter signed with the Canada A’s of the California Winter League. Apparently the A’s “represent” the country but play in Palm Springs. They also won the CWL title as Delmotte was 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA. Apparently he was throwing 94-96 miles per hour.
He was headed for the Amarillo Thunderheads in the American Association but Rangers scout Rick Schroeder signed him instead to a free agent contract.
After he signed, he told his hometown paper the Romeo Observer, “It’s a journey. A lot of people move up one level a year. I’m hoping I can exceed that rate of acceleration, but again that is going to be on the team, the organization’s needs and my performance. The work is just beginning.”
But now it is March 23 and the Rangers have released him. The word from a club official is that Delmotte threw well but others were ahead of him.
Maybe he will go to Amarillo and keep pitching. Maybe this time his arm will hold up. Maybe one day he will get a chance to pitch in the big leagues. Jeff Zimmerman once pitched in France. Jon Edwards pitched in Alpine and San Angelo.
But it would be wrong for Austin Delmotte to exit without retelling this story. There are hundreds others like him with the same dream.