Almost a Red, Palacios happy he landed with Blue Jays

   
  
   
  
    
  
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    Toronto Blue Jays outfield prospect Joshua Palacios chases down a ball in the gap during fielding drills at the Bobby Mattick Training Complex in Dunedin, Fla. Photo Credit: Ryan Blevins

Toronto Blue Jays outfield prospect Joshua Palacios chases down a ball in the gap during fielding drills at the Bobby Mattick Training Complex in Dunedin, Fla. Photo Credit: Ryan Blevins

By Ryan Blevins

Canadian Baseball Network

DUNEDIN, Fla.-- Toronto Blue Jays prospect Josh Palacios was almost a Cincinnati Red, before his uncle reminded him of his goals.

It was a long road for Palacios to be drafted in the fourth round of the 2016 draft, one that included being cut in high school from the varsity team, transferring to a cross-town rival, and going on a college journey that touched Stony Brook, a Texan junior college, and Auburn University.

“My mother told me ‘Even if you think you deserve something, you’ve got to be twice as good as everybody else, ’” said Palacios, sitting on a bench at the Bobby Mattick Training Complex. “So I wasn’t twice as good as everybody else to make (my high school) team.

“That really put a fire and a battery in my back to go harder.”

Despite his hard work, Palacios was not selected out of high school. Opting for education, the outfielder had a quick stint at Stony Brook University before transferring to San Jacinto Junior College in Pasadena, TX.

“The competition there (Stony Brook) was good but my whole life I’ve been hearing ‘You’re good but we don’t know how good you are because you never played good competition,’” said Palacios. “I got tired of hearing that, and I heard that again while I was at Stony Brook so I was like ‘You know what? I want to go to the best pitching conference there is.’”

His success there finally got him drafted, in the 31st round by the Cincinnati Reds. Palacios’ lifelong dream of playing professional baseball was in his grasp.

It was his father, former Detroit Tigers farm-hand Richard Palacios, his uncle, former Kansas City Royals catcher Rey Palacios and his mother’s brother who reminded him of his goal of being drafted in the top-five rounds.

So it was back to school for Joshua, who transferred to Auburn and was selected 132nd overall in 2016, despite suffering a wrist injury early during his draft season.

Now entering his third professional season, Palacios has spent time with the GCL Blue Jays, Vancouver Canadians and Lansing Lugnuts.

He spent all of 2017 with the mid-A Lansing Lugnuts. The Brooklyn native drove in 39 runs and hit .280/.360/.772 in 91 games. His speed was not able to shine however, as he was only able to steal 12 bases in his 18 attempts.

He says the Blue Jays organization is the best fit for him.

“I love the fit,” said Palacios. “I love how the Blue Jays play in Toronto and just the idea of Toronto, a big city, kind of like New York City, is somewhere where I feel like I can eventually feel at home.”