Andy Mota could hit well. But he didn't show much that first year out. He hit .263 for short-season Auburn. Returning for 1988, Mota heated up, hitting nearly 90 points better and taking the league batting crown.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Mota credited that improvement to a year of experience in the pros.
"You've got to work hard for yourself to get better because there's no one there to force you," Mota told The AP. "As you get more success, like what happened to me, you get more confident, the butterflies are gone."
Mota went on to hit well at single-A Osceola the next year, at .319, and .286 in 1990 for AA Columbus.
But, when he finally made the majors in August 1991, those butterflies apparently returned. Over 27 games in the majors, he hit just .189, a stint that marked the extent of his major league career.
Drafted by the Astros in the 12 round of the 1987 draft, Mota followed his father Manny Mota into the pro ranks. He was also following his brother Jose Mota, drafted three years earlier and still working his way through the minors.
After his short stint in the majors, Andy Mota stuck around in the minors through 1994. He has since stayed around the game, serving as a major league agent to such current players as Hanley Ramirez.
Mota made AA Columbus for 1990, his fourth season as a pro. Going into 1991, Mota was even talked about as making Houston. He just needed to show he could play second base.
Coming out of spring training 1991, Mota's defense still needed work.
"Andy's almost there," Astros manager Art Howe told The Orlando Sentinel at the end of March. "He can hit with the best of them. His offense is enough to keep him in the big leagues for a long time. But right now we feel he needs the opportunity to play second base every day. It's only a matter of time before he is ready."
At AAA Tucson in 1991, Mota hit .299, and he was called up in August. But he ended up getting just 17 hits in 91 at bats and hit a single home run.
Returning to Tucson for 1992, Mota's average dropped to .240. It was his final full year in the Astros system. After going through the Rockies, Giants and Rangers systems, Mota's playing career ended.
Mota's served as a player agent in the years since, representing Luis Castillo in 2000 and now represents the likes of the Marlins' Ramirez.
After Ramirez' second full season in the majors, where Ramirez hit .332 and won Sporting News top National League shortstop honors, Mota recalled Ramirez setting out his goals for that year.
"This year in Spring Training, he was in my office," Mota recalled to MLB.com in October 2007, "and he said, 'I'm going to hit 30 homers, and I'm going to be MVP.' I said, 'MVP of the team?' He said, 'MVP of the league.' We kind of laughed it off, but it showed how confident he was. He was unbelievable this year."
- Youngstown Vindicator, Associated Press, Sept. 4, 1988: Manny Mota's son Andy is doing well in New York-Penn League
- Orlando Sentinel, March 28, 1991: Who Will Play 2nd For Astros?
- MLB.com, Oct. 16, 2007: The Sporting News honors Ramirez