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Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Darren Watkins got hurt, missed chance to impress, made AAA

Darren Watkins 1990 Baseball City Royals card

Leading into his first big league camp in 1989, Royals minor leaguer Darren Watkins needed to be ready. Out running a week before spring training, though, he suffered ligament damage and underwent surgery, The Kansas City Times wrote.

He also was out for the season, The Times wrote.

"It's a shame because it's his first big-league camp, and you want to impress everybody," Royals manager John Wathan told The Times. "It crushed him."

Watkins eventually returned from that injury and played two more seasons. He saw five in all. He briefly played at AAA.

Watkins' career began in 1986, taken in the 29th round of the previous year's draft out of Cascade High School in Everett, Wash. His name was also misspelled Daren Watkins.

Watkins played his first season with the Royals in 1986, in the rookie Gulf Coast League. He hit .236 in 24 games.

He then played 1987 between short-season Eugene and single-A Appleton then 1988 mostly at Appleton, but also at single-A Baseball City. He stole 40 bases in 1988

In May 1988, he went for a catch, but missed, leading to a two-run single, The Appleton Post-Crescent wrote.

"It was a shallow hit off the end of the bat, a cheap hit, I think," Watkins told The Post-Crescent wrote. "If I could have caught it, I would have caught the ball. I didn't think I had a chance at it."

After his lost 1989 season, Watkins returned to play at high-A Baseball City for 1990. He hit .250 in     120 games and stole another 40 bases.

He then started 1991 at AA Memphis. He went in as a pinch runner in a May game and came around to score on an overthrown ball, The Memphis Commercial-Appeal wrote.

"I saw the ball go by him and then I just picked up the sign," Watkins told The Commercial-Appeal afterward. "I need to get on base more so I can make things happen like that."

Watkins saw 59 games at Memphis and hit .153. He then moved to the Braves and played 22 games at high-A Durham and three more at AAA Richmond to end his career.

Watkins returned to Washington State, became a scout and in 2024 he continued to be involved in the game as head coach and president of the 18U Seattle Tides.

Darren Watkins 1990 Baseball City Royals card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,294
Made the Majors:1,392-32.4%
Never Made Majors:2,902-67.6%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:567
10+ Seasons in the Minors:349

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