Career minor leaguer was said to be a cog in player development.
In the BBA, players always come and go. Sometimes that player is a superstar and everybody remembers them. Other times there is a player, that for whatever reason, develops an unwarranted emotional connection to a teams owner and stays way longer then he should. In Brooklyn that player was Gabriel Draper.
Draper was drafted by Vancouver in the 4th round of the 2026 amateur draft. He signed for a mere $150,000 signing bonus. In Vancouver he made Brett's famous "interesting player list" where he remained for the next 3 years. This is where the Robins first fell smitten for the young captain. They liked him enough to remember him, but not enough to actually trade for him. You see, Draper was never really a prospect. He was a fringe infielder who maybe could have made it if his glove was a little better or maybe even if his bat was a little better. Like hundreds of other young players. Draper was a fringe player who was just barely not good enough to play at the BBA level. A crushing roller coaster ride for a young man to come to grips with.
Vancouver released Draper in August of 2029 and Brooklyn was fairly quick to go after the sloppy seconds. Draper checked a lot of boxes. He was still relatively young at age 26. He was a team captain, and he could play middle infield. So as far as filling out minor league rosters, he was somewhat appealing. During his first season in San Francisco Draper slashed .312/.328/.408 while having a +6.2 zone rating at SS as a part time player. It intrigued Brooklyn enough to protect him in the rule 5 draft the following season and since he was already on the 40 man, it allowed him to get a quick cup of coffee in 2032.
From there though.. the wheels fell off the wagon for Draper. He never again was able to show any signs of being a BBA player. Brooklyn ended up releasing him on October 2, 2032. It was a mere formality to open up a 40 man roster spot. Sure, the Robins could have DFA'd him and then offered him a minor league extension. But at this point of the season, there wasn't enough time to execute that. Being he wasn't a major piece, it was easiest just to release him.
After a year wasting a way in the free agent pool, Brooklyn once again layed eyes on Draper. Now a crusty 30 year old never will be, Draper sat in Free Agent purgatory like a puppy locked in a pen at the pound. Counting down the days till he gets put down. Brooklyn decided to give him another shot. This time as a player/coach.
Now a player/coach is not a real thing. But it is very real to Brooklyn. In the minors there are 30 roster spots. It's virtually impossible to find playing time for 30 players. So no matter how hard you try, 2-3 players get minimal reps. Rather then wasting that spot on a rookie who will never have a chance, the organization enlists captains and sparkplugs that might be able to cause a positive effect on development without needing playing time.
Draper fit this role to a tee and was instrumental in the development of a lot of Brooklyn prospects. He even won a championship with the rookie league Lexington Sycamores in 2035. He has long been considered future coach for the organization. It is not yet known what his exact role will be at this time. But we expect he may start as a hitting coach specializing in contact.