I’ve been writing and blogging about the Arizona Diamondbacks for nearly as long as they have been in existence and well before the term “blog” became mainstream. During the inaugural season I would periodically write as part of my NowHitting web site describing some aspect of the team or sharing some piece of Diamondbacks history that I had just found.
Over time I began to separate the blogging from the historical and team information that NowHitting contained. I moved the blog entries to their own domain, which became Diary of a Diehard. Through the years I have covered numerous subjects some funny and some rather sobering.
There are currently 1,957 blog entries that I have generated over the years and I have to admit they are beginning to blend together in my mind. Every once in a while I like to scroll back through the archives and re-read some of the entries. I recently came across an entry written on June 6, 2010 called “The Rest of the Story – Taylor Wrenn” and thought it might be a good subject to revisit.
When I wrote in 2010, Taylor Wrenn had not signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks after he was drafted in the 25th round choosing to accept a baseball scholarship with USC. During a break he had an allergic reaction to a prescribed antibiotic (Zithromax Z-Pak) and nearly lost his life.
Wrenn recovered from that near tragedy and began to regain his strength with hopes of reviving his baseball career. He had lost 35 pounds in the hospital and his body and mind were struggling to overcome the trauma from the illness and resulting coma. While starting every game for USC he complained that he “just couldn’t get it together mentally”.
Wrenn left the baseball team after the spring season in 2011. The pressures for Division I baseball coupled with the high expectations from school and overcoming the trauma of a near-death experience had taken their toll on him. He quit baseball and for 2 ½ months he worked to try to regain what he had lost. As far as Taylor Wrenn was concerned, his baseball career was over.
His parents talked to him and suggested he give baseball one more chance. Wrenn went to the Cape Cod league as a temporary player but soon had an opportunity for a full-time position in the Northwood League in Minnesota.
“I had lost so many at-bats and so much playing time the previous season so I felt it was better for my career to move up there,” Wrenn said. “I was having a really good summer and all of sudden my arm started to feel funny.”
After an MRI and visits with doctors Wrenn was diagnosed with a torn labrum in the shoulder joint. He underwent surgery to repair the tear. Things looked bleak for the shortstop and he considered whether he should return to USC or transfer. His father Luke, a baseball scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks, suggested he look at the University of Tampa.
Wrenn met with Tampa head coach Joe Urso who remembered Wrenn from high school and gave him a chance. For the first few games Wrenn was still recovering from shoulder surgery but his bat was in the lineup on Opening Day. For the first while he played designated hitter but soon was on the field in the infield.
At the 2011 draft the Cincinnati Reds drafted Taylor Wrenn in the 27th round with the 835th overall pick. It was lower than he had been drafted two years earlier by the Diamondbacks but it meant his dream to be a professional baseball player was still alive and that was all he could ask for.
In 2012 Wrenn was assigned to the Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League where he played in 35 games hitting .274 with a .336 slugging percentage. The next season he moved to Dayton in the Midwest League where he hit .400 but only played in three games.
This season Wrenn found himself playing for Traverse City in the Frontier League, an independent league with no affiliation. After playing in 59 games where he amassed a .288 batting average with a .473 slugging percentage he was signed by the Texas Rangers and assigned to the Hickory Crawdads in the Class A South Atlantic League. So far he has appeared in 3 games as a second baseman hitting .273 with a .636 slugging percentage.
As a 23-year-old player in Single-A, the odds are against Taylor Wrenn reaching the major leagues but given all that he has gone through I don’t think there is anyone who will ever count him out completely. He’s overcome too much in his young life to not think he has at least one more comeback in him. I hope he does.