With a father and uncle that played professional baseball, a sister who was an All-American softball player at Cal and a two-month stint in the Cape Cod Baseball League, Carter Aldrete’s exposure to the next level gives him a leg up on the competition.
“Embrace the suck.”
ASU baseball left fielder and second baseman Carter Aldrete was never a fan of the “conditions” that he dealt with last summer as a member of the Orleans Firebirds in the Cape Cod Baseball League.
“The fields are terrible,” Aldrete said. “The lighting is terrible. There’s not many good places to eat on the Cape. It’s tough.
“It’s a small island with very limited resources.”
As a 65-mile extension into the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Cod isn’t known for well-lit baseball fields or array of quality food options. The island is divided from the mainland by a 105-year-old canal with two bridges that remind its locals the Cape is still a part of Massachusetts.
Despite the area’s oddities and foreign components (especially for Aldrete, who lived in Monterey, California, for most of his life), the Cape is home to the top amateur baseball league in the world.
Founded in 1885, the Cape League is known around baseball as a pipeline for future major league talent. Former players currently in the Major Leagues include the likes of Aaron Judge, Kris Bryant, Chris Sale, Justin Turner, George Springer and Buster Posey.
The amount of talent the Cape League acquires from year-to-year is only improving. The number of former Cape Leaguers in the MLB has risen from 198 in 2006 to 303 as of 2018.
It’s no secret that playing in the Cape League is far from luxurious, but Aldrete knows his experience last summer in the northeast’s most sacred shores will pay off.
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“It’s great for every college baseball player that gets to go,” Aldrete said. “The Cape’s great, but it’s only for one summer, so you only get it for so long.”
Getting a chance to play in college baseball’s version of an all-star league for a summer, to many, is an advantage in attracting the attention of scouts. But Aldrete’s lineage in professional baseball may give him an even greater upper hand.
“Obviously having people in a baseball background is going to help,” Aldrete said. “The support is appreciated.”
His uncle, Mike, was a World Series Champion with the New York Yankees in 1996. At 35 years old, Aldrete’s uncle had 17 hits and three home runs for the Bronx Bombers, his final season in what was a 10-year major league career.
Aldrete’s father, Rich, played in the minor leagues for six seasons, advancing to as high as AAA in the San Francisco Giants system before retiring after three seasons in the Independent League.
And his sister, Annie, was a member of Team USA in the 2015 World Cup of Softball. In the World Cup, Annie went 2-for-5 with a home run in a tournament that eventually resulted in the United States’ gold medal victory.
“(I’ve competed) in everything my whole life; I don’t know anything else,” Aldrete said. “It’s how I was raised and it’s how I will be until the day I die.”
A trip to the prestigious Cape League while being in a family of highly-accomplished athletes places Aldrete in an intriguing spot. Although he never grew up in a clubhouse environment, the current ASU outfielder joins a distinct group of athletes whose relatives had professional experience.
Barry Bonds, the all-time home run leader in the MLB, saw his father play 14 seasons in the majors while hitting over 300 career homers of his own.
Ken Griffey Jr., who was three votes shy of becoming unanimously voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, famously, for a season, played on the same team as his father, Ken Griffey Sr.
And although not baseball related, five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant’s father, Joe, played eight seasons in the NBA.
Is Aldrete the next home run king or unanimous Hall of Famer? Probably not. But, the junior’s family history surrounding professional baseball will be a positive talking point for teams to consider before the MLB Draft in June.
And by no means does Aldrete believe that is father and uncle’s baseball success will give him a fast track to big leagues.
“It’s one of those things where you have to figure it out on your own,” Aldrete said. “They (his father and uncle) can’t play for me or prepare for me.
“It’s just figuring it out on my own.”
All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.