Marcus Nidiffer (Covington 08-09), a catcher from the University of Kentucky, was expecting to be drafted in the 2010 June draft. He wasn't. The Houston Astros snapped him up as an undrafted free agent, and he went on to have a tremendous pro debut at two stops. In fact, he hit so well that Josh Jackson of MiLB.com named him the Houston Astros' organization all-star at first base.
Here is what Jackson wrote about Nidiffer:
First base -- Marcus Nidiffer, Greeneville (48 games), Tri-City (21 games): The Astros grabbed Nidiffer after he went unsigned in the Draft, and he turned out to be a big-time producer during his debut season. The right-handed hitter posted a .372 on-base percentage while slugging .535 across two short-season levels, belting 14 homers in 69 games.
"Sometimes opportunities come for players unexpectedly and they can either take advantage of them or they fail," Astros field coordinator Dick Scott said. "He was brought in to fill a hole, recognized this was his chance and definitely got our attention. He hit well and hit for some power.
"He was asked to play first base, which he had never played before prior to arriving in the organization. He possesses a strong work ethic and a desire to continue proving he belongs."
Nidiffer went yard once every 15-bats to rank second in the Appy League.
The hope is that Marcus can continue to hit like this and work his way up the chain to Houston. He showed this kind of power in the Valley League for Covington, so I can't say I'm surprised!