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SPECIAL REPORT: 100 percent effort – How San Luis, MX native Brandon Jaime earned a shot at the big leagues

It's been an unusual, but so far successful road to Major League Baseball for Jaime, who grinded through Mexican leagues to earn a shot with the Cincinnati Reds

YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - A unique path, to a common goal.

San Luis, Mexico native Brandon Jaime was just three years old when he first fell in love with baseball.

Like most who have touched a diamond, his dream has always been to play on the game’s biggest stage.

However, the route he’s taking to get there is not the one most typically followed.

“The process of baseball, it’s something really important since you start your journey as a little kid, when you’re three years old, five years old, because you’ve got to know the passion of it, you’ve got to feel it in your heart,” Jaime said.

Jaime’s baseball journey started like many others.

It was Jaime’s uncle, Jorge, and older brother, Marco who helped spark his interest in the game.

He played little league in Yuma and eventually, high school ball with Gila Ridge, but then, in his sophomore year, Jaime dropped out of school.

“It was actually hard to make the decision because I wouldn’t know what was going to happen," Jaime said.

Most players in the United States will typically either try to get drafted out of high school or earn a college scholarship.

"Sometimes I say what would have happened if I stayed, what would have happened if I left, but right now in my opinion I feel like I made the right decision,” Jaime said.

What wouldn't make sense for most people, proved to be the right move for Jaime.

Now a member of the Cincinnati Reds organization, he signed a minor league deal with the team back in January.

When Jaime left Gila Ridge in 2021, it came with an opportunity to join the Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League.

So he took his dream to Oaxaca, where he joined La Academia De Beisbol Harp Helu, a development academy for the Diablos' youth signings.

Jaime would make his debut with the team in April of 2023.

“It gets sometimes sad because I dropped out of high school, but how baseball is for me, I’m always going to be there 100 percent,” Jaime said.

Jaime’s former head coach James Kuzniak already knew him, when a much younger Jaime always would visit his older brother Marco’s practices after school.

“Everyday we’d be at practice, and this little kid would come running over when they got dismissed, and he’d come running over to our practice and hang out in the dugout,” Kuzniak said.

While his time as a Hawk was short lived, it’s part of what got him his chance in Mexico.

His only season with the team was his sophomore year in 2021.

In just 18 games, jaime hit for an average of .339, getting 17 RBI's, all while primarily playing catcher.

“I mean the skills kind of stood out right away, his arm behind the plate, his hands,” Kuzniak said.

Success continued for Jaime south of the border.

He’d make his pro debut at just 17, in the Mexican minor leagues with the Marineros De Ensanada, getting called up to the league’s top division in 2023.

In 19 games with the Diablos Rojos last year, Jaime hit for an average of .438.

Following the Mexican League season, Jaime then played in the Mexican Winter League with the Algodoneros De Guasave in Sinaloa.

It was there that the latest high in Jaime’s journey happened, when he got his minor league offer with the Reds.

“When they told me that I was gonna sign, I didn’t believe, I cried, because like it’s someone’s dream you know, to go to the big leagues and start your real career,” Jaime said.

So now Jaime will try to work his way up to the major league squad with Cincinatti.

A challenge fellow Gila Ridge product Irving Lopez, knows the difficulty of.

Lopez made his debut with the St. Louis cardinals last season.

He also played with Jaime’s brother for the Hawks, and played against Jaime in the winter leagues.

“It’s the mental stuff, it’s crazy a lot of people are gonna tell you no a lot of people are gonna doubt you, it’s just your work ethic that’s gonna get you there,” Lopez said.

However, it’s the work ethic and mentality, that Jaime seems to already have.

“Give your 100 percent effort every single day no matter what, like just stay focused, no excuses you just gotta grind hard,” Jaime said.

The first stop in the Reds organization for Brandon will be in the Dominican Summer League.

Which is the lowest level of Minor League Baseball, with their season just getting underway in May.

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Luis Lopez

Luis Lopez covers sports and weather for KYMA.

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