BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - After seven years of grinding away in the Minors, Luis Aviles Jr. is finally seeing his hard work pay off, earning the first Midseason All-Star selection of his career.
“Every time you get an evaluation like this, you get motivated as a player," Aviles told WLOX. "That’s just like a little motivation to keep working hard and just gridning it out.”
However, Aviles finds far more motivation from a source much closer to home.
“When I left Cuba, that was one thing I told my Mom, ‘I’m gonna work so hard that I’m going to get you out of Cuba,'" Aviles said. "You and my little brother, because my little brother is still back at home.”
Growing up in Havana, Cuba, the elder Luis Aviles dreamed of a better life for his son, entering the nation’s lottery to win a visa to move to the United States.
“I think it was 2005, my dad ended up winning it, and the whole family that was listed on the paper, we were able to come to the United States,” Aviles said.
How big of a transition was that for a young Luis?
“Oh it was really big,” he laughs. “It was really big.”
“I think it was when I was like (in America for) eleven months, I started telling my dad ‘I wanna go back to Cuba. I don’t want to stay here anymore. English is really hard to learn,'" Aviles said. "I feel like a year after, when I started playing travel baseball, everything got easier.”
As Aviles slowly settled in to life in Miami, a promising future in professional baseball came into focus.
“I think as soon as I stepped foot on a field here in the United States, that people started to tell me, like hey, listen. This is the real deal," he said.
Drafted out of high school in the 30th round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, Aviles quickly got to work turning his dream into reality. He continues to do so while keeping his family close to his heart, no matter how far from home his career may take him.
“My dad, everything he did. He always worked to get me the best glove that I could, and I was really picky about my cleats, so he was always working to get me all the equipment that I needed to play baseball," Aviles said. "That’s something that I really appreciate from my Dad and my family, everyone that put something just to make it happen.”
Aviles is one of nine Shuckers set to represent Biloxi in the 2019 Southern League All-Star Game on Tuesday, June 18 at MGM Park.