Kiwi baseball pitcher Kyle Glogoski has signed a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies and will move to the United States to play in the minor leagues this year.

The Auckland teenager was the youngest player on the New Zealand roster at the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in 2016 and has long been considered one of the country's brightest prospects.

He turned down interest from rival MLB franchises before agreeing to a deal with the 2008 World Series champions.

Kyle Glogoski in action for the New Zealand Diamond Blacks Baseball Team two years ago. Photo / Photosport
Kyle Glogoski in action for the New Zealand Diamond Blacks Baseball Team two years ago. Photo / Photosport

Dale Budge:

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"I have been in discussions with major league baseball teams for about two years now," the right-hander Glogoski told The Herald. "I have had previous offers before this one but it was about finding the right fit for me and the right team, how they were going to look after me and how they are going to help me progress.

"The Phillies came around literally a week before Christmas and they just laid it all on the table for me. I listened to a few other teams as well and the Phillies just seem to be the best fit for me. They look after their minor leaguers, they have a lot of strong, young talent that I can learn from and get along with."

Glogoski started playing baseball in Auckland at the age of 12, representing Bayside Westhaven and Howick Hawks, and knew he wanted to make it to the majors early on.

That makes it all the more incredible that he take his time waiting for the right opportunity rather than jumping the first time an MLB club came knocking.

"It was definitely hard," he admitted. "Me, Mum and Dad were discussing it for a week at a time. Every time we would sit down at dinner we would discuss if this might be my last offer and whether I should take it and run with it but I am glad I stuck with it and said no.
"I trained hard and worked harder and got to where I am now where I got an offer from the Phillies that was too good to turn down."

The 19-year-old has been playing for the Sydney Blue Sox in the Australian Baseball League this summer and will leave it up to the Phillies as to whether he returns to them this season or concentrates on preparing for the year ahead in the US.

"I will be heading over to Florida, which is where they have their spring training every year, to work myself up through the systems and make it to the big leagues," Glogoski said.

"[How long it takes to make it] really depends on how you perform over there. At the moment [the contract] is for seven years but I could be let go after three years or they might sign you again after the seven years.

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"As long as you move up one level a year you are on the right track to the majors.
"Once you get to AA it is all about what happens ahead of you with injuries. Pitchers are very injury-prone players due to the unnatural motion we go through with 100 pitches a game.

"My first level that I will start at will be at rookie ball in April and that will be in Florida in the Gulf Coast League."

Glogoski knows that despite this opportunity there are many hurdles to jump if he is live out his dream of playing in the majors. The minor league journey is brutal as players find themselves in small outposts, living out of a suitcase, away from family and friends and having little escape from the sport.

Kyle Glogoski in action for the New Zealand Diamond Blacks Baseball Team two years ago. Picture / Photosport
Kyle Glogoski in action for the New Zealand Diamond Blacks Baseball Team two years ago. Picture / Photosport

He has sought advice from fellow Kiwis that have been through the minors.

"Everyone says it is one of the biggest grinds in your life," he said. "You are getting up at 8am and you are out there until 5pm just working your ass off. It is something you have to make sure you love if you want to commit to it.

"It was definitely good to talk to guys like Nick Maronde and Max Brown who have gone through the system so I think I know what I am in for."

Backgrounder

The Philadelphia Phillies are based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are the oldest continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in all of professional American sports, dating back to 1883.

They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) East division. Since 2004, the team's home has been Citizens Bank Park, located in South Philadelphia.

The Phillies have won two World Series championships (against the Kansas City Royals in 1980 and the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008) and seven National League pennants, the first of which came in 1915.