FISHKILL — It might be the biggest baseball cliche of all, but for Hudson Valley Renegades catcher Jake DePew, the game really is all about fathers and sons.
Growing up in Granite City, Ill., 10 miles north of St. Louis, DePew’s father, Daren, was his coach, all the way from Little League through high school.
During DePew’s senior season at Granite City High in 2010, it became evident that he was bound for the next level. He had verbally committed to the University of Louisville, but when the Tampa Bay Rays drafted him in the ninth round, he couldn’t pass up an opportunity to play professionally, just as his father had.
“Growing up, you always had people say, ‘you only play because your dad is the coach,’ but that didn’t bother me too much,” DePew said. “My dad didn’t treat me any different than any of the other guys on the team, which made it easier for me. I never got any special treatment.”
Daren DePew played one season, 1988, in the short-season Northwest League, batting .272 in 47 games for the Boise Hawks.
When Jake shipped off to play for the Gulf Coast Rays in 2010 and the Princeton (W.Va.) Rays in 2011, his father’s experiences helped him make the transition.
“He has all kinds of advice for me and that helps a lot,” DePew said. “That makes things easier. You can always call dad, you know?”
DePew has had his struggles at the plate early in his pro career. He went 3-for-11 in his brief stint in the Gulf Coast League and batted .214 in 46 games last year with rookie-level Princeton.
This season, he also has to deal with the logjam of catchers on the Renegades’ roster. Michael Williams and Luke Maile, who platooned between first base and catcher this spring at the University of Kentucky, are sharing a similar role with the Renegades. Justin O’Conner, who caught 63 games in his first two years in the organization, is the team’s primary designated hitter. Patrick Reardon, an undrafted free agent from Division III Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, has had just one at-bat through three weeks.