Major League Baseball’s Opening Day marks the unofficial beginning of spring. But for six former Treasure Valley high school baseball stars, Opening Day had to wait.
Five kicked off the 2017 season with their minor-league clubs Thursday, while one more awaits his summer assignment.
Below, we catch up with all six as they chase their big-league dreams.
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High school: Borah
After making 18 appearances with the Dodgers from 2012-14, Fife has yet to reach the majors since Tommy John surgery in 2015. Injuries slowed his progress in 2016 as well. The 30-year-old signed with the Marlins in the offseason, where he is not on the 40-man roster.
High school: Boise
The 6-6, 230-pound reliever made his MLB debut last summer, appearing in 22 games with a 4.50 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 22 innings. But for the second year in a row, he was the Astros’ last cut out of spring training and starts the season in Triple-A Fresno waiting for a promotion.
High school: Bishop Kelly
The 28-year-old was a workhorse in the Giants’ bullpen last season, appearing in 59 games despite a torn knee ligament that required surgery in October. But the second-year pro struggled in 2016 to a 4.71 ERA and was the Giants’ last cut out of spring training.
High school: Rocky Mountain
The 23-year-old starting pitcher heads back to Double-A Tulsa after finishing 2016 two steps from the majors. A 40th-round pick in 2015, Anderson has succeeded at every level so far with a career 3.96 ERA and 4.3 strikeouts per walk in two-plus years.
High school: Eagle
Ely had an eventful third year as a pro. He was named a Low-A Midwest League all-star, hitting .295 before a June promotion to High-A, where he hit .237 and helped Myrtle Beach win a Carolina League title. He starts the year as a backup in Double-A.
High school: Fruitland
After skipping baseball last summer to focus on football, Boise State’s likely starting middle linebacker left the Broncos in March for baseball. Martarano played 22 games between 2014 and ’15, hitting .256. He has yet to receive a minor-league assignment and will likely return to Eugene of the Northwest League in June.