Kingston’s Dor­rian has sights set on ma­jors

Kingston High alum Pat Dor­rian still has his sights set on the ma­jors

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mike Stribl [email protected]­manon­line.com Sports Re­porter

Pat Dor­rian couldn’t fail to see the irony last sum­mer when he found him­self — six days into his pro­fes­sional base­ball ca­reer — play­ing against the At­lanta Braves’ af­fil­i­ate in a Gulf Coast League game.

“The first time we played them it was at Or­lando. It was funny be­ing there again,” the Kingston High alum and 2014 Free­man Player of the Year re­marked. “It was like déjà vu.”

Dor­rian, now in a Pi­rates uni­form, was drafted in the 12th round in 2014 by the Braves and, right af­ter sign­ing his con­tract, was in that same com­plex. Within a week, he had left the team.

Four and a half years later, Dor­rian is back in Florida to be­gin his sec­ond year in the Pitts­burgh Pi­rates or­ga­ni­za­tion.

That de­tour has made the 22-year-old third base­man stronger, wiser, more pol­ished and “ready” to make his bid to reach the ma­jors.

“It’s def­i­nitely a pos­i­tive four years in all as­pects, whether it’s base­ball or just life. I’m more ready to go for cer­tain things that I wasn’t at that time,” Dor­rian said. “It’s not some­thing I re­gret. I just kind of took it as a learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and it’s some­thing that I can tell other kids who go through some­thing like this.”

He never wa­vered from his quest.

“It’s al­ways been the goal. As I

“It’s been good so far, I’m ready to go.” – Pat Dor­rian.

said, at that cer­tain time I wasn’t ready, so I de­cided to go to school with the same goal in mind, the same work ethic if not higher up than it ac­tu­ally was,” Dor­rian said. “I never thought it was out of reach. I knew that it could al­ways hap­pen.”

He signed as a non­drafted free agent with the Pi­rates last June 20 and, two days later, had two sin­gles and three RBI in his pro de­but. He hit .328 with 10 dou­bles, 6 triples, a home run and 34 RBI in the Gulf Coast League. That earned him a pro­mo­tion to the Bris­tol (Vir­ginia) Pi­rates of the Ap­palachian League for 9 games. He bat­ted .367 with 11 hits (five for ex­tra bases) and 5 RBI.

Dor­rian, who went down to the Pi­rates’ Braden­ton com­plex last week for a mini camp, could be in Sin­gle-A ball with the Greens­boro (North Carolina) Grasshop­pers this year.

“It’s been good so far. I’m ready to go,” said Dor­rian, who has been work­ing out with for­mer Tiger team­mate Zack Short, who should see him­self in Triple-A with the Chicago Cubs.

Dor­rian was in­vited to the Fall In­struc­tional

League, a big boost for a first-year free agent try­ing to make an im­pres­sion.

“It was an ex­tra two weeks of games with all the coaches (AA, high A, low A). I got a lot of one-on-one in­di­vid­ual work and I got to in­tro­duce my­self,” he said. “I met Clint Hur­dle, man­ager of the Pi­rates. He was there for a few days, which was re­ally cool. That was an awe­some ex­pe­ri­ence. And I played re­ally well. I hit two home runs in two weeks. It was huge. I played pretty much all at third base.

“That was my big­gest thing when it comes to my ex­po­sure in the or­ga­ni­za­tion. That’s what re­ally made ev­ery­one know who I was and know my name.

“I’ve been in­vited to mul­ti­ple camps this off­sea­son,” he noted. “Whether or not it ac­tu­ally means any­thing, it def­i­nitely makes me feel good. I makes me feel like I’m wanted.”

Dor­rian ad­mit­ted he “just wasn’t ready” with the Braves four years ago.

“I got there. I wasn’t com­fort­able. I was a bit over­whelmed,” he said. “I didn’t feel that I was ready, pol­ished enough, to be there. The first day I re­ally got onto the field and prac­ticed, I was like, ‘Okay. This ... I don’t know.’ I was un­sure and I took another day or two and it was like, ‘Yeah. I don’t think so.’ I talked to

my par­ents about it. They supported me then and now.

“At the time, I did not feel that I was good enough to be there yet. There was a lot of people there. There were a lot of older guys who didn’t speak any English. I was kind of out of my com­fort zone when it came to the base­ball sce­nario. That was prob­a­bly the big­gest thing. I didn’t want to go there and be like a bust. I know it was so early and I was su­per young. It was just the way my mind was think­ing at the time. At that cer­tain time, I just didn’t feel I was ready for mul­ti­ple rea­sons. I just didn’t think that I was pol­ished to com­pete at that level at that time.

“Many people dis­agreed with what I did and it’s to­tally okay, be­cause you know what? If I heard this story about some­one else, I’d be like, ‘What’s he do­ing? He has the world in the palm of his hand.’

“At the other end of the stick, you don’t know what it’s like — 17 years old, you’re leav­ing and I know kids do it for col­lege. It just wasn’t my time. I thought, ‘I’ll go to school. I’ll get an ed­u­ca­tion. I’ll do this. I’ll do that so I have some­thing to fall back on. A lot of people ask me, ‘Do you re­gret it? ‘ Hon­estly, the answer is no. I truly don’t. I wish I... There are things I could have han­dled

a lit­tle bit bet­ter with more ma­tu­rity, but what are you go­ing to do? I can’t go back in time.

“Of course I was home­sick, but that was not the rea­son why I left. Of course I missed home, I missed my friends, but I wasn’t go­ing to let that judge whether or not I leave a pro­fes­sional or­ga­ni­za­tion. There was a lot of other things that played into that that people never re­al­ized at that time.

“At the end of day, at that cer­tain time, I was not ready to be where my feet were.”

Un­be­knownst to him was that de­ci­sion meant Dor­rian was no longer el­i­gi­ble to player Di­vi­sion I col­lege ball or be drafted again.

Dor­rian, who had ver­bally com­mit­ted to Iowa West­ern Com­mu­nity Col­lege be­fore he was drafted in ‘14, went to Herkimer County Com­mu­nity Col­lege near Utica. In two years with the Gen­er­als, he hit .357 with 99 RBI and was a sec­ond-team All-Amer­i­can.

He then com­mit­ted to St. John’s, but the NCAA de­nied the el­i­gi­bil­ity. Di­vi­sion-II Lynn Uni­ver­sity in Boca Ra­ton, Fla. was wait­ing in the wings, how­ever.

“My roo­mate at Herkimer, Jake Rouse, had com­mit­ted to Lynn early on and they told me that they were go­ing to save schol­ar­ship money, be­cause they

knew my whole sit­u­a­tion.” Dor­rian ex­plained. “Pretty much right when I couldn’t go to St. John’s, later that day, I called and said, ‘I’m com­ing.’ It worked out great.”

Dor­rian had 26 homers, 100 RBI and bat­ted .372 and .394 in his two sea­sons at Lynn. He was the Sun­shine State Con­fer­ence Player of the Year and an All-Amer­i­can his se­nior year.

The Di­a­mond­backs, White Sox, Mariners, Ori­oles, Phillies and the Mar­lins all saw Dor­rian play while at Lynn.

“Once the school ball ended, I ac­tu­ally stuck around Florida for a lit­tle while, just in case of hear­ing of any work­outs with dif­fer­ent teams,” said Dor­rian, who did have a ses­sion with the Rangers.

Pitts­burgh, which had shown in­ter­est in Dor­rian when he was at Herkimer, kept an eye on him and reached out two weeks af­ter the draft.

“I was ac­tu­ally at my girl­friend’s house, in the back­yard with her fam­ily, and my coach from Lynn called me. He said, ‘Hey, some guy with the Pi­rates just called me. He should be call­ing you soon.’ I hung up the phone and, two sec­onds later, he calls. He said, ‘We have a spot for you in the Gulf Coast League. You had a great year at school.

You de­serve an op­por­tu­nity. What do you think?’ I said, ‘Let’s go.’”

A mid­dle in­fielder all his life, he played at third for 43 of his 47 games with the two Pi­rate teams. He had tried the cor­ner when he first came to Herkimer, then in the Cape Cod League. It’s a move that works to his ben­e­fit with top short­stop prospect Cole Tucker just added to the Pi­rates’ 40-man ros­ter.

The Pi­rates are look­ing at Dor­rian’s ver­sa­til­ity and keep­ing his bat in the lineup, even putting him through some catch­ing drills at the Fall In­struc­tional camp.

“I was a good player in high school. I did my thing,” said Dor­rian, who also starred at Kingston in both bas­ket­ball and foot­ball.

“I think part of the rea­son why the Braves de­cided to draft me was be­cause I was just an ath­lete. I played mul­ti­ple sports. It was more of a po­ten­tial thing, like I had the po­ten­tial to be some­thing good,” he said.

“I think now the rea­son the Pi­rates gave me a chance was be­cause I’m older, ma­tured and my game is more pol­ished. I know what I’m do­ing at the plate. For the most part, I know what I’m do­ing in the field. I’d def­i­nitely say I’m more pol­ished, more sea­soned for sure.”

WIL­BUR MILLER — PI­RATES PROSPECTS

Pat Dor­rian bat­ting with the Gulf Coast League Pi­rates.

MIKE STRIBL - DAILY FREE­MAN

Pat Dor­rian.

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