For Atlanta Braves shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, the potential to play in the big leagues was always in his blood, and in 2008, that destiny became his reality. Pastornicky followed in the footsteps of his father, Cliff, who played third base for the Kansas City Royals, and his grandfather, Ernest, of the Chicago Cubs.
Coming out of the Pendleton School in Bradenton, Florida, Pastornicky knew he had what it took for a career in Major League Baseball.
“I felt like I was ready, Pastornicky said. “But it was one of those things that it just had to be the right situation.”
The Toronto Blue Jays drafted him in the fifth round of the 2008 MLB draft. In an instant, he went from a high school baseball player, to joining the ranks of his father and his grandfather in the major leagues.
“You work your whole life as a little kid,” Pastornicky said. “So finally hearing your name called is pretty cool.”
Pastornicky was traded to the Atlanta Braves in 2010, and made his big league debut at shortstop for the Braves in April of 2012 on Opening Day.
“The fans love their baseball in Atlanta, so being able to be a part of that, and getting to go out and play in front of them is a lot of fun,” Pastornicky said.
Pastornicky recorded his first hit in his debut, a triple off of former New York Mets pitcher Ramón Ramírez; one of the proudest accomplishments of his young career.
“In New York, the family section is above third base,” he said. “So when I got to third, I looked up and I could see my friends and family standing up and going crazy, which was really cool.”
For young players like Pastornicky, the goal for the off-season is always improvement.
“I just want to continue to get better. I want to be able to call myself a starting player instead of a role player or a bench player,” Pastornicky said.
For Pastoricky and any young player who dreams of playing baseball in the bigs, perseverance is key.
“Don’t let anyone tell you no. It’s definitely hard—it’s definitely not easy,” he said. “Just don’t let anyone discourage you, and always think that you can—there’s always that chance. Never let anyone crash on your dreams.”
Words spoken by a player living his.