The Foundation: Tayler Scott hoping to make baseball history

The Foundation: Tayler Scott hoping to make baseball history

August 28, 2013, 3:15 pm
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Tony Andracki

The Cubs' desire to search all over the world for talent didn't begin with the Theo Epstein regime. It was there with Jim Hendry running the front office and on back through the organization's history.

[RELATED -- Follow the money: Cubs trying to find talent all over the world]

International talent is nothing new in baseball. But South African talent? That's something Major League Baseball has never seen.

Tayler Scott is a man on an island.

[The Foundation: Vogelbach leaves his mark on Kane County]

The Cubs' fifth round pick in the 2011 draft, Scott is finishing up his first full professional season with the Kane County Cougars, playing just 40 miles from Wrigley Field. No South African player has ever made the big leagues.

Scott, a 21-year-old native of Johannesburg, leads the Cougars in games started (24) and innings pitched (130) while sporting a 4.22 ERA and 1.52 WHIP. He was one of six Kane County players voted to the Midwest League All-Star game.

Scott started the season strong, with a 3.98 ERA in April and 3.38 ERA in May. But he struggled in June (4.76) and July (5.00) before turning things around again in the season's final month, posting a 3.67 ERA in August.

[More from "The Foundation: The Story of the 2013 Cougars"]

The tall, wiry right-hander (Scott is listed as 6-foot-3, but only 165 pounds) only appeared in just two games in 2011, his first season with the Cubs. He started 15 games for short-season Boise last year and went 5-1 with a 2.52 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.

"He's growing. He's still a young man," Cougars pitching coach Ron Villone said. "He's still growing physically. Mature-wise, he's really come a long way in one year. He's got a lot of good things going on. He just has to understand it's a process. It takes time. He's got a lot to learn, but he's also got a lot to give back. He's a pretty good athlete."

The Cubs are trying to stockpile pitching prospects and while Scott may not join the ranks of Pierce Johnson or C.J. Edwards as elite arms in the minor leagues, the organization hopes it found a diamond in the rough with the young righty from South Africa.

[The Foundation: Cubs' hopes hinge on developing pitching]

Scott was a stud pitcher for Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he moved midway through high school to pursue a career in baseball. His parents alternated time with him in Arizona and in their home in Johannesburg.

"Without them, this wouldn't have happened," Scott said. "My parents sacrificed not seeing each other for months and months so I could be in Arizona. They gave up their lives for me to have this opportunity. So I'm just going to take it and run with it."