Tecolotes second baseman Juan Martinez enjoys acting teaching during the offseason

Most minor or independent league baseball players clinging to a big league dream must have another gig that might not only help them make ends meet, but also be flexible enough not to interrupt their preparation for the big league. coming season. That’s why Tecolotes Dos Laredos second baseman Juan Martinez decided to become a substitute teacher in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. 10 years ago.

“It’s perfect for me because it doesn’t give me any free time,” Martinez said. “I play baseball in the summer. So, when I get back to Bakersfield, Calif., I immediately get back to substitute teaching. The kids are back to school and they are giving me a chance to have a job at home.

Martinez being a replacement is just one example of the jobs minor and independent league players must work to supplement their income during the offseason while continuing to work throughout their baseball careers. In fact, substitute teaching is a more common job for minor and independent league players than you might think. Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Steve Delabar, who played in the 2013 Major League Baseball All-Star game, has already served as a replacement.

According to athleticism, the average minor league player’s salary was $ 6,000 in Single-A, $ 9,350 in Double-A, and $ 15,000 in Triple-A in 2018. The Mexican Baseball League now pays players between $ 4,000 and $ 12,000 per month. But players are only paid for the months they are with the team, which ranges from five to seven months depending on how their team is behaving that year. So when the offseason comes, the goal is to earn money while training for the next season.

Whenever he returns to Bakersfield to replace Kern High School District, primarily for Arvin High School, Martinez teaches various subjects. And he doesn’t have a favorite subject to teach because he loves them all.

“I like to teach any subject,” Martinez said. “I am allowed to submit any topic in the district. It’s a great opportunity for me to go back to work. I love to teach children.

However, Martinez especially enjoys teaching classes to students learning English as a second language.

Martinez had a baseball career that took him across North and Central America. He was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 46th round in 2009 at Oral Roberts University. He spent two years in the San Francisco farming system before playing in a handful of independent leagues.

The second baseman traveled to Mexico when he signed with El Aguila de Veracruz in 2016, the franchise that eventually became the Tecolotes in 2018. Since then, he has become a clubhouse favorite for the binational organization.

Martinez credits him with becoming a much-loved teammate for a lesson he also applied as a substitute teacher.

“You play with a lot of people all over the world,” Martinez said. “Everyone is a little different. So I learned to go with the flow. So when I’m in class, I let myself go with the flow because every student is different. You just have to learn to treat people respectively.

The Bakersfield native can be a bit of a substitute teacher on the diamond as he’s been a starter for the Tecolotes this year. When starting second baseman Kevin Medrano injured his hand earlier this season, Martinez completed the starting lineup. As of Friday, Martinez has seen the action in 17 games, batting .200 with six RBIs and five runs. He also has a home run.

“You just have to go with the flow,” Martinez said.

Martinez loves what he does for a living. But he knows he will have to say goodbye to baseball sooner or later. And he accepts it. In fact, he feels he only has a few years left. However, he already knows what he wants to do in his post-baseball life.

“Once I’m done playing, which I probably still have a year or two in me, I’ll probably graduate from teaching to become a full-time teacher,” Martinez said. “I am thinking of teaching (physical education). “

Until then, Martinez will continue to do the two things he loves most: playing baseball and educating the children of the Bakersfield area as a substitute teacher.

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Twitter: @gkroegs

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