Throughout baseball history, many former players retire, but what comes next for them? Some players will become coaches, scouts, or working in a front office setting. While there are the players who retire and work to become broadcast journalists. One player who has given back to his baseball community in the form of broadcasting is former St. Louis Cardinal and Miami Marlin, Xavier Scruggs.
Scruggs was drafted by the St. Louis in the 19th round of the 2008 MLB Draft. Playing as a first baseman/outfielder, Scruggs endured difficulty with finding his niche with the Cardinals. The power-hitting prospect spent six years in the minor leagues and was called up by the Cardinals in 2014. Scruggs registered nine games in 2014, batting .200, with three hits in 15 at-bats.
That next season, he got more of a taste in the majors, getting his average up to .262 in 17 games played. After that season, Scruggs then signed a minor league contract with the Miami Marlins. In 24 games with the Marlins in 2016, Scruggs was able to launch his first career MLB home run but only hit for a .210 average. But what was next in Scruggs’ journey?
Outrighted by the Marlins during the 2016 offseason, Scruggs decided to take his talents overseas to play in the KBO (Korean Baseball Organization) for the NC Dinos. Enjoying every opportunity, Scruggs was able to shine in his first season with the Dinos in 2017. Scruggs batted .300, blasting a career-best 35 home runs and 111 RBI’s. He stayed for another season in 2018 with the Dinos, batting .257 with 26 home runs and 97 RBI’s. With the way Scruggs was playing, it was shocking to see an MLB team not give him another opportunity. Some players who have surged in Korea and worked back to the MLB have been Eric Thames, Darin Ruf, Chris Flexen, and Taylor Motter.
During the 2019 season, Scruggs played some games in the Mexican League for Leones de Yutacan. Only playing in 57 games, he hit .262 and played during the winter of 2019-2020. At 31 years old, what was next for the former slugging top prospect?
In April of 2021, he joined the St. Louis Cardinals baseball operations team, working in the role of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultant. Also, he joined the broadcast team at ESPN and works for MLB. Working for MLB, ESPN, and MLB Network Radio now, Scruggs is focused on sharing stories of former ballplayers, including his own story to give fans more of an outlook of the path it takes to become an MLB player.
Also, Scruggs started his own podcast titled, “The Bigs,” where he interviews current Major League Baseball players where players will have their behind-the-scenes stories about their pathways to the MLB and the grind in the minor leagues. It’s a podcast that is truly different from the rest. He’s interviewed many notable players on his show. Guests including Jack Flaherty, David Price, Tommy Pham, Kolten Wong, Trey Mancini, Brett Phillips, Albert Pujols, Tim Anderson, and Stephen Piscotty.
Truly, Scruggs is changing the way that fans listen to a podcast, and digest MLB content. The content is purely done and created for his fans, and fans of MLB where Scruggs wants to give back to people with information that he learned throughout his journey. He was also reminded of how the game is so loved internationally, while ESPN was working with the KBO to broadcast their games during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
While being a full-time husband and father, Scruggs is truly an example for young fans to aspire to be when they grow up. His experiences are like none other, and it is extraordinary to listen to him and other players discuss their prior endeavors. Currently, he works to broadcast MLB games on ESPN, working alongside many of the familiar voices of television. His podcast, “The Bigs,” is featured on We are excited to see Scruggs contribute and give more back to the MLB community for many years to come.