By Tyler Trainor, Point Park News Service:
Before Derek Law was born, his parents were traveling back to Pittsburgh after his father’s failed attempts to become a Major League Baseball player when they were involved in a nasty crash.
His mother was seven months pregnant with the Law, who is now 23, during the crash. The car flipped repeatedly, but almost miraculously, his mother and father came out relatively unscathed.
His father now looks back at that instance as an omen, because his son is on the verge of making it to the big leagues as a relief pitching closer for the San Francisco Giants.
“We always wonder why it happened and what it meant,” his father, Joe, said. “We think there is a reason, and that’s Derek.”
Law grew up in Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood where he was a three-sport athlete playing football, basketball and baseball. But baseball was always his first love.
He went on to shine during his Little League days as both a pitcher and hitter. His dad, who was on the Oakland Athletics major league roster for four days but never pitched, taught him the entire way.
Law played high school baseball at Seton LaSalle, and in his junior year, he put up an 8-0 record with a 0.94 era and 132 strikeouts in 67 innings. He earned South Hills Area Player of the Year awards and made the All-District team two years in a row.
That got him noticed by baseball scouts.
“That was the first time I thought I really had a chance.” Law said. “It was always just a dream before that point. I never thought it would one day become a reality. You hope one day you’re lucky enough to at least get drafted, but when you’re young, it’s such a far-away shot.”
Law was drafted directly out of high school in the 28th round by the Texas Rangers. He did not sign and went instead to attend Miami Dade College in Florida.
For two years, he was their ace pitcher, and the scouts continued to take notice.
In the 9th Round of the 2011 draft, Law got the call from the San Francisco Giants.
He went on to sign with them and by 2013 he was called to the San Jose Giants minor league team where he became the closer. His stat that stood out the most was his 45-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Those numbers got him invited to the Arizona Fall League, a highly touted league for top prospects.
Law kept opening eyes and forced the Giants to invite him to Big League camp for spring training this year. He was the only pitcher on the team to not give up an earned run.
He then realized his dream was on the brink of coming true.
“It’s always a dream when you grow up playing sports to play professionally,” Law said. “Playing in the backyard, pretending to be certain major league players, and now I’m around those guys, and I guess you could say it’s a dream come true.”
He hopes to be in the Giants’ bullpen by the end of this year.