FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Some Diamond Hogs are now off to start their new careers as professional baseball players. But just because they were drafted, does not mean they will be living a life of luxury.
Former Hog Cody Scroggins has been painting the black this baseball season for the Greenville Drive, Boston’s High A affiliate baseball team.
“It’s a grind but some guys love the grind,” he said.
You need to love it because even the best minor league players hardly make $15,000 a year.
“You don’t make a lot but you get by plenty. There are teams out there that pay for rent, living, that kind of stuff. And you have gas stations. Cheap good food at gas stations,” Scroggins said.
It is hard enough just to get to Scroggins’ level. It is estimated that high school ballplayers have a .5% chance of eventually getting drafted by an MLB team.
“I’m one of the guys who loves the grind, especially with what I went through to make it big if I do make it. It’s a win-win situation for me,” he said.
In 2019, Scroggins got drafted in the ninth round, so he beat the odds once already. Even so, only 20% of ninth-rounders make it to the show.
So Scroggins teamed up with a couple of other minor leaguers with a company called Pando Pooling. It sets up a pool where players all contribute 10% of their major league earnings. Then, they split the pot evenly.
So if Scroggins ends up earning $50 million as a big league, another player makes $20 million and a third player never makes it to the majors, $7 million ends up in the pool. Scroggins keeps most of his money, player two breaks about even, and the player who never got that big contract still walks away with a couple of million dollars.
More minor leaguers are starting to do it and so are entrepreneurs.
“Chances are the first idea that seizes them, the first company they start is not the one that will get them where they’re trying to go,” UA Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Executive Director Sarah Goforth said.
Sarah Goforth teaches young entrepreneurs at the University of Arkansas. Her students and minor leaguers have a lot in common.
“You’re giving up a guaranteed salary for a hope and a dream and many startups take years to become cashflow positive,” she said.
New business owners or ballplayers could often be competitors. Pando Pooling helps them join forces.
“It’s basically like a little bit of life insurance. You never know when your career is going to end randomly. It could happen, injury. You could get released throughout the season and all these different things that can happen to minor leaguers,” Scroggins said.
Just last week, Scroggins got promoted from the Red Sox’s Low A team to the High A affiliate; just one step closer to that big-league contract.
To see all of the Hogs who were drafted into the MLB this year, click here.