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How does a player go from being undrafted to having a 1.60 ERA in the big leagues?

The Braves’ 50th pick in the 2008 draft, and the 1493rd pick overall, was a guy named Dylan Lightell. I don’t know much about Dylan Lightell. I don’t believe he pitched professionally. I think he has a profile at an electronic dance music site, with the personal statement “all add’d out,” which I guess makes Derek Lowe a good comp for him. And I know that major-league baseball teams thought 1,492 draft-eligible amateurs, but not 1,493 draft-eligible amateurs, were better than he was in 2008.

But, in 2008, I would have known even less about Brandon Beachy, who wasn’t drafted at all. Thirty teams, 50 rounds, 1,504 picks, and Beachy was untouched. Major-league baseball teams thought that at least 1,504 amateurs were better than he was in 2008, but for all we know they thought 1,504,000 amateurs were better than him. They might have thought he was the very worst baseball player in the world. There is no limit to how bad they might have thought he was, because he was drafted just as much as a non-physical entity, like, say, senioritis was drafted. Brandon Beachy has a 1.60 ERA.

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