Mike Tauchman makes for a nice example. "I tell our kids that we have here now, 'Hey, here's a guy who got it done with sweat,"' says Elvis Dominguez.
Dominguez ought to know. Tauchman, one of the best stories to emerge from the Yankees' "Next Man Up" culture in the Bronx this season, was Dominguez's first recruit to Bradley University when the coach took over the program in 2008.
"He had all the intangibles," Dominguez says. "One thing that set him apart was that he outworked everyone. He was never satisfied, wanted to be the best and did everything he could to achieve that. That's tough to find - there are a lot of talented kids out there without that work ethic."
Tauchman, who is from Palatine, Ill., was a two-sport star at William Fremd High School and had offers from lower-level colleges to play football. He was a quarterback and defensive back in high school and once intercepted current San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Dominguez once said Tauchman had "Tim Tebow-like skills" as a QB. Dominguez laughs when reminded of the comparison.
"He definitely had an eye for it," Dominguez says. "He was just a winner. He found a way to win whether it was running or passing. That translated into his baseball skills, too."
"We always like to recruit dual-sport athletes and he was definitely a multi-talented, tough kid. Just a gamer. But his talent on the baseball field really caught my eye."
Tauchman, who entered play Monday, Aug. 12 batting .300 with a .960 OPS and 12 home runs in 65 games for the Yankees, thrived at Bradley, the same college his mother attended and the one that also produced Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett.
Tauchman had a chance to be drafted as a junior, Dominguez says, but a hamstring injury slowed him. He used that as motivation for his senior season, Dominguez says, and returned to lead the nation in hitting in 2013, batting .425 and earning All-America honors. The Rockies drafted him in the 10th round that year and he played a total of 52 games in the Major Leagues with them over 2017-18. In spring training this year, the Yankees traded lefty reliever Phillip Diehl to add Tauchman for outfield depth and it's paid off.
Dominguez and Tauchman spoke for about 20 minutes a few weeks ago and they text regularly, the coach says.
"He's just enjoying the moment and obviously grateful for the opportunity," Dominguez says. "He's just taking it all in. I don't think he's every going to be satisfied. He's always going to work and you see the results he's having right now. When you have the work ethic and put in the time, good things happen.
"There's a lot of motivation and energy. He just needed a break."