The legend of Mike Tauchman is unlike any other, and it dates back to long before he was hitting home runs for the Yankees.
The surprising slugger first made a name for himself back at William Fremd high school in Illinois when he intercepted Jimmy Garoppolo, the current San Francisco 49ers quarterback. Not only did he intercept him, Tauchman also played quarterback for his team that game and led William Fremd to victory.
"It's a cool story," he told the Daily Herald in June, a newspaper based in suburban Chicago. "I don't want to sound like the guy at the bar that struck out Bryce Harper when he was nine years old. Jimmy's really, really good now. I think we both chose the right sports."
That certainly seems to be the case. Tauchman has been a godsend for the Yankees, hitting a slash line of .301/.375/.581 with 12 home runs and 41 RBIs in 63 games this season. He has played excellent defense, which included robbing a home run from Orioles catcher Pedro Severino earlier this week.
At least one person saw this coming out of Tauchman six years ago.
Mark Germann, a major-league scout for the Colorado Rockies, was the organization's midwest area scout for 11 years when an outfielder at Bradley University caught his attention in 2013.
"I really thought he would hit," Germann told Mike Mazzeo of Yahoo Sports. "I really thought he was a major-league hitter."
Tauchman led all of Division I baseball with a .425 average his senior year, but had just eight home runs in his collegiate career. Germann figured that Tauchman's raw power would eventually develop and persuaded the Rockies to draft him in the 10th round of the 2013 MLB Draft.
Tauchman excelled in the minors, but never had the same success in brief chances with the Rockies at the major-league level. He was traded to the Yankees in Spring Training earlier this year, and he has stepped up admirably as the Bronx Bombers try to overcome a slew of injuries.
"That's the fun thing, when they finally do make some kind of impact at the major-league leve, and you're like, 'I knew it,'" Germann said. "It's a crapshoot. There's a lot of luck involved. It doesn't always happen -- a lot of times because the opportunity never presents itself or they get a chance and never get that second chance or they get two chances and they never get a third chance."
So, just how confident was Germann in Tauchman?
"You get gut feels on guys," he said. "And Mike was certainly a gut-feel guy. I told [Rockies VP of scouting] Bill [Schmidt], 'This kid is a major-league hitter. I don't know how many of these other guys are that are still on the board. I really believe he is."
Tauchman's sample size with the Yankees is still small, but Germann remains optimistic the outfielder can continue to play like this.
"Hopefully," he said. "I have no reason to think he can't."