So this minor league baseball stuff is pretty cool, huh?

Some people don’t think so. Some fans seem to think there’s no point in watching a couple of teams full of players they’ve never heard of. Where do these people think major leaguers come from?

Since there are 40 rounds in the MLB draft, baseball may be the easiest sport to make it to the professional level. However, it may be more difficult to get to the big leagues than to get to the top level of most other sports.

For that reason, it makes it even better when a player finally makes it to the majors, and the fans that watched them in the minors can say they watched them play before anyone else.

Sure, many baseball fans knew who Bryce Harper was before he was called up to the big leagues, but it’s a pretty good bet that fans in Hagerstown, Md., Harrisburg, Pa., and Syracuse, N.Y., feel like they know him better.

Maybe they do. They did get to watch him play before everyone else, after all.

For an example of a star that went through a minor league town closer to home, think of all the fans in central Arkansas who have what now must be one of the most difficult signatures to get in all of baseball.

Mike Trout hit .326 in 2011 in 91 games with the Arkansas Travelers, the double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.

Fans that spent any time at Arvest Ballpark, the home of the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, the double-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals, last season may have seen three of the top four prospects, as ranked by MLB.com.

The top-ranked prospect, Jurickson Profar played for the Frisco RoughRiders, the double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, hitting .281 with 62 RBIs.

Oscar Taveras, the No. 3-ranked prospect earned a spot in major league spring training after hitting .321 with 23 home runs and 94 RBIs as a Texas Leaguer in double-A Springfield, an affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The No. 4 prospect, Wil Myers, was a Natural for 35 games, during which time he hit .343 and drove in 30 runs, before he joined the triple-A Omaha Storm Chasers.

Myers went on to hit .304 with the Storm Chasers before being traded to Tampa Bay during the offseason.

So maybe the minor leagues are full of a bunch of players that will never make it to the major league level and will spend their lives taking long bus rides and making way less money that most fans would think.

Or maybe it’s a really cool opportunity to see the stars play before they become stars.

Haley Markle is the assistant sports editor for the Arkansas Traveler. Her column appears every Monday. Follow the sports section on Twitter @UATravSports.

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