John Brebbia‘s odds to rise to the major leagues were not good. He came out of a smaller college in Elon University and was picked by the New York Yankees in the 30th round in the 2011 draft. Expectations for a 30th-round pick are minuscule, and after he performed poorly in the Yankees’ farm system, they released him in 2013. Undeterred, Brebbia signed with the Sioux Falls Canaries of the American Association of Independent Baseball.
After almost two years in the AAIB, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed Brebbia to a minor league contract. The Cardinals plucked him in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft in December 2015, and they elevated him to the major leagues in 2017.
Brebbia became a solid piece in the Cardinals’ bullpen from 2017 to 2019, and his unique personality endeared him to teammates and fans. He missed the shortened 2020 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, and the Cardinals nontendered him. Brebbia signed with the San Francisco Giants on Dec. 21, 2020.
Brebbia’s long and winding road to the major leagues is a display of what even players with no hype can accomplish if they provide results, regardless of where they are.