CLEARWATER, FL – Philadelphia Phillies’ prospect Albert Cartwright’s story is far from usual.
The Bahamas may not be a scout’s paradise, but Cartwright could join the other six projects from the Caribbean island who beat the odds and made the majors such as Ed Armbrister, Wenty Ford and former Phillie, Tony Curry.
A 25-year old second baseman, he found his way to Delray Beach, Florida in 2006 when he was given the opportunity of a lifetime.
“Well, in the Bahamas at [age] 16, baseball pretty much dies down, so if you want to continue your baseball career you usually come to the United States or you go to Canada,” said Cartwright, sitting on the metal bleachers at the Phillies’ multi-diamond complex.
“So I was given the opportunity to come to Florida, where I did my high school from [Grade] 10 to 12 and then I was drafted.”
Cartwright has hurdled his fair share of obstacles, but nothing could stack up to his journey into a Major League system.
“Coming from the Bahamas it’s hard for you to be seen, hard for the scouts to see you over there,” he said. “I went to a small junior college [in Florida] where there weren’t many scouts over there at the time. So it was pretty much up in the air.”
After being selected by the New York Mets in 2006, Cartwright was told that he would not be signed.
“That was 2006, and they wanted me to play some shortstop but when I went to college [at Polk CC, in Winter Haven, FL] I played mostly outfield so they weren’t really interested,” said Cartwright.
“I was pretty young, a freshman, it didn’t really affect me that much and then the following year I was given an opportunity by the Houston Astros who came out of the blue actually, and they drafted me in the 43rd round.”
Following a two-year stint within the Astros’ farm system, Houston traded Cartwright to the Phillies where he has transitioned into a second baseman.
Cartwright hit .319, with 10 home runs, 48 RBIs and 24 stolen bases as a member of the Class-A Lancaster, in 2010.
In his first year at Class-A Clearwater, the second baseman tallied .257 with five home runs, 40 RBI and 16 stolen bases after missing the 2011 season due to an injury.
Cartwright as one of his baseball heroes,’ Jimmy Rollins, is right there to emulate.
“I’ve talked to Jimmy Rollins a few times, the way he goes about, the way he prepares,” said Cartwright, with a big grin. “So I take their game and try to twist it into mine and try to do similar stuff.”
Speed is a big part of Rollins’ game and Cartwright believes that he, too, contains the swiftness that may take him to the next level.
“My biggest strength is my speed because basically I just need to hit the ball on the ground and run, bunt, take the extra base,” said Cartwright. “Basically do all the stuff so the big boys can eat at the end of the day.”
This is a man of opportunity and he says, as you’d expect, he will do whatever it takes to have his name make it to the 40-man roster one day.
“Pretty much I’ll go anywhere once they put me in the line up, so second base, shortstop, I guess it doesn’t really matter to me,” said Cartwright. “Once the manager writes your name on the card that works for me.”