“Getting picked up by the Cardinals is a blessing,” said UConn pitcher, Andrew Marrero who was recruited on the final day of the 2021 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft. “Seeing Yadier Molina playing for the Cardinals while growing up, and his success really motivated me.”
The 21-year-old rookie from New Haven finished his sophomore season with the Huskies by appearing in 18 games with 28 strikeouts while walking just eight, pitching to a 4.22 ERA.
A relief pitcher, Marrero throws a fastball that sits between 93-95 mph and also features a slider. That type of talent attracted the attention of scouts; he was the fifth husky taken in this year’s MLB draft.
Marrero is a Wilbur Cross high school graduate, where he was a four-time All-SCC selection, and was named to the GametimeCT First Team All-State and was the New Haven Register All-Area MVP as a senior.
According to CT Insider, he set the school record with 242 career strikeouts and senior year was 6-3 with a 1.60 ERA and 88 strikeouts in 521/3 innings.
As impressive as those feats are; 16 years of hard work and dedication began by playing Little League when Marrero was just four years old. Even at that young age, he was talented. His coach would have him play with older kids in his age group. Competing at a more difficult level elevated Marrero’s game, forcing him to work harder to keep up with the more experienced players.
“Ever since I was little; when I started playing – this has always been a huge dream of mine; trying to get there (MLB) and push for the next level,” Marrero said.
Marrero getting to the Big Leagues is an accomplishment shared by his parents who settled in New Haven in the 1990s from Ponce, Puerto Rico.
“Yes, (it) is a dream come true”, Andrew Marrero’s father, Junior, celebrated his son being selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in a text to CTLatinoNews.com.
“We were in shock for quite a while,” Adela said in Spanish, in disbelief at the news her son was drafted. “We had that dream that was always there, always there, and I told him you are going to go far, keep it up!”
The family often skipped vacations to give Andrew their unconditional support in playing baseball. They followed Andrew’s games from state to state and practices season after season every spring and summer.
That type of support is what motivated Andrew to excel from little leaguer to college ball, and what inspires him now to succeed in The Majors.
Marrero said he was expecting Arizona to select him. But when that fell through, he got a call from his agent that the Cardinals were interested. “The organization is a really great organization, and I know that they’re going to give me the opportunity I need,” he said in an interview with the New Haven Register.
Marrero is now hard at work at the Cardinal’s spring training complex in Jupiter, Florida.
Cover photo courtesy: UConn Athletics