Friday, February 17, 2017

RECORD 57 FORMER INDEPENDENT PLAYERS IN MAJOR LEAGUE CAMPS

What a jump!

A record 57 players who have been in one or more Independent Baseball leagues are among those in--or heading to--major league spring training camps.

IndyBaseballChatter.com, which has been tracking Indy players for years, has identified 40 pitchers and 17 position players who are on 40-man rosters (27) or are non-roster invitees (30), a jump from the previous count of 52 two years ago.  Fifty players were in a similar group last year.

Forty-five players, another record, played in major league games last season.

Those ticketed for major league camps this year, including the major league and Independent affiliations, with non-roster players designated with an "n" before their name and players who started their professional career in an Indy league shown with an "*".  The underscoring of a name indicates players added since the last report of those headed to spring training:

Pitchers (40)--Tim Adleman, Cincinnati (New Jersey, Can-Am League, and El Paso and Lincoln, American Association.); nAndrew Albers, Atlanta (Lancaster, Atlantic League, and Quebec, Can-Am); nCarlos Alvarado, San Francisco (Lancaster and Newark, Atlantic; San Angelo, United League); nAndrew Barbosa, Detroit (Long Island, Atlantic); Buddy Boshers, Minnesota (Somerset, Atlantic); nCraig Breslow, Minnesota (New Jersey, Northeast League); Hunter Cervenka, Miami (Sugar Land, Atlantic); nSteve Delabar, Cleveland (Florence, Frontier League, and Brockton, Can-Am); nJon Edwards, San Diego (Alpine, Pecos League, and San Angelo, North American League); nDerek Eitel, Washington (Wichita, American Association); nCharles (Carlos) Fisher, San Diego (Somerset, Atlantic); Luis Garcia, Philadelphia (Newark, Can-Am); nJarrett Grube, Toronto (Southern Maryland, Atlantic); Junior Guerra, Milwaukee (Wichita, American Association); Ariel Hernandez, Cincinnati (Frontier Greys, Frontier); Rich Hill, Los Angeles-NL (Long Island, Atlantic); *James Hoyt, Houston (Wichita, American Association, and Edinburg, Yuma, North American); Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles-NL (Sugar Land, Atlantic); nLogan Kensing, Detroit (Bridgeport, Atlantic); Brandon Kintzler, Minnesota (St. Paul, American Association, and Winnipeg, Northern League); Vidal Nuno, Los Angeles-NL (Washington, Frontier); nMicah Owings, Seattle (York, Atlantic);  *James Paxton, Seattle (Grand Prairie, American Association); nMatt Reynolds, San Francisco (Lancaster, Atlantic);  *Tanner Roark, Washington (Southern Illinois, Frontier); Chaz Roe, Atlanta (Laredo, American Association); nDrew Rucinski, Minnesota (Rockford, Frontier); nDan Runzler, Pittsburgh (Sugar Land, Atlantic); *Tanner Scheppers, Texas (St. Paul, American Association); *Max Scherzer, Washington (Fort Worth, American Association);  Bo Schultz, Toronto (Grand Prairie, American Assocation); *Robby Scott, Boston (Yuma, North American); n Chris Smith, Oakland (Sugar Land, Atlantic and Wichita, American Assocation); *Chris Smith, Toronto (Lake Erie, Traverse City and Washington, Frontier, and White Sands, Pecos); Josh Smoker, New York-NL (Rockford, Frontier); nCaleb Thielbar, Miami (St. Paul, American Association); nMarcus Walden, Boston (Lancaster, Atlantic); nTom Wilhelmson, Arizona (Tucson, Golden League); nAaron Wilkerson, Milwaukee (Grand Prairie; Florence, Frontier; Fort Worth, United);  Brad Ziegler, Miami (Schaumburg, Northern).

Catchers (5)--Rafael Lopez, Cincinnati (Bridgeport, Atlantic); nYermin Mercedes, Baltimore (Douglas and White Sands, Pecos); Rene Rivera, New York-NL (Camden, Atlantic); nEddy Rodriguez, Minnesota (Sioux Falls and El Paso, American Assocation); nJan Vazquez, Colorado (Long Island).

Infielders (5)--nRobert Andino, Baltimore (Somerset); n*Chris Colabello, Cleveland (Worcester and Nashua, Can-Am); Stephen Drew, Washington (Camden);  nBrandon Snyder, Washington (Southern Maryland, Atlantic); Ildemaro Vargas, Arizona (Bridgeport, Atlantic).

Outfielders (7)--nStephen Cardullo, Colorado (Rockland, Can-Am); nChris Marrero, San Francisco (Somerset); Jose Martinez, St. Louis (Rockford, Frontier); n*Daniel Nava, Philadelphia (Chico, Golden); nWily Mo Pena, Cleveland (Bridgeport); David Peralta, Arizona (Amarillo and Wichita, American Association, and Rio Grande Valley, North American); nLogan Schafer, Baltimore (Lancaster, Atlantic). 


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Wednesday, February 01, 2017

48 ONETIME INDEPENDENT PLAYERS DUE IN MAJOR LEAGUE CAMPS

While a half dozen teams have not made their full non-roster contingents known for spring training, IndyBaseballChatter.com has identified 48 players with Independent Baseball experience who will be in major league camps this month.

The list is top-heavy with pitchers, as usual, with three-quarters of those expected being moundsmen.  A number of leagues are represented with the Atlantic League and American Association continuing to be the most productive.

Twenty-seven of the players are on 40-man major league rosters with the other 21 being non-roster invitees.  A few more players are likely to be added.

The entire 48-man list of onetime Independent players with their current major league and previous Independent affiliations:

          Pitchers (36)--Tim Adleman, Cincinnati (New Jersey, Can-Am League, and El Paso and Lincoln, American Association.); nAndrew Albers, Atlanta (Lancaster, Atlantic League, and Quebec, Can-Am); nAndrew Barbosa, Detroit (Long Island, Atlantic); Buddy Boshers, Minnesota (Somerset, Atlantic); Hunter Cervenka, Miami (Sugar Land, Atlantic); nSteve Delabar, Cleveland (Florence, Frontier League, and Brockton, Can-Am); nJon Edwards, San Diego (Alpine, Pecos League, and San Angelo, North American League); nDerek Eitel, Washington (Wichita, American Association); Luis Garcia, Philadelphia (Newark, Can-Am); nJarrett Grube, Toronto (Southern Maryland, Atlantic); Junior Guerra, Milwaukee (Wichita, American Association); Ariel Hernandez, Cincinnati (Frontier Greys, Frontier); Rich Hill, Los Angeles-NL (Long Island, Atlantic); *James Hoyt, Houston (Wichita, American Association, and Edinburg, Yuma, North American); Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles-NL (Sugar Land, Atlantic); nLogan Kensing, Detroit (Bridgeport, Atlantic); Brandon Kintzler, Minnesota (St. Paul, American Association, and Winnipeg, Northern League); Vidal Nuno, Los Angeles-NL (Washington, Frontier); nMicah Owings, Seattle (York, Atlantic);  *James Paxton, Seattle (Grand Prairie, American Association); nMatt Reynolds, San Francisco (Lancaster, Atlantic);  *Tanner Roark, Washington (Southern Illinois, Frontier); Chaz Roe, Atlanta (Laredo, American Association); nDrew Rucinski, Minnesota (Rockford, Frontier); nDan Runzler, Pittsburgh (Sugar Land, Atlantic); *Tanner Scheppers, Texas (St. Paul, American Association); *Max Scherzer, Washington (Fort Worth, American Association);  Bo Schultz, Toronto (Grand Prairie, American Assocation); *Robby Scott, Boston (Yuma, North American); n Chris Smith, Oakland (Sugar Land, Atlantic and Wichita, American Assocation); *Chris Smith, Toronto (Lake Erie, Traverse City and Washington, Frontier, and White Sands, Pecos); Josh Smoker, New York-NL (Rockford, Frontier); nCaleb Thielbar, Miami (St. Paul, American Association); nMarcus Walden, Boston (Lancaster, Atlantic); nAaron Wilkerson, Milwaukee (Grand Prairie; Florence, Frontier; Fort Worth, United League;  Brad Ziegler, Miami (Schaumburg, Northern).

            Catchers (3)-- Rafael Lopez, Cincinnati (Bridgeport, Atlantic); Rene Rivera, New York-NL (Camden, Atlantic); nEddy Rodriguez, Minnesota (Sioux Falls and El Paso, American Assocation).

            Infielders (4)—n*Chris Colabello, Cleveland (Worcester and Nashua, Can-Am); Stephen Drew, Washington (Camden);  nBrandon Snyder, Washington (Southern Maryland, Atlantic); Ildemaro Vargas, Arizona (Bridgeport, Atlantic).

            Outfielders (5) – nStephen Cardullo, Colorado (Rockland, Can-Am); Jose Martinez, St. Louis (Rockford, Frontier); n*Daniel Nava, Philadelphia (Chico, Golden); David Peralta, Arizona (Amarillo and Wichita, American Association, and Rio Grande Valley, North American); nLogan Schafer, Baltimore (Lancaster, Atlantic).

            *First professional game was in an Independent League; nNon-roster invitee


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Monday, December 26, 2016

Spring Training Count Of Ex-Indy Players Likely To Top 2016

Most major league teams have not revealed the bulk of their non-roster invitees to spring training camps, but IndyBaseballChatter has been busy working through various sources and we can now say with confidence that the number of players who have been in independent leagues and will train with one of the 30 organizations almost certainly will top the 50 mark of last February.

We can identify 42 players already ticketed for major league camps in Florida or Arizona even though about seven weeks remain before we hear the happy cry of "pitchers and catchers", traditionally the first big-leaguers asked to report.

After last season's record of 45 onetime Indy players seeing action during the regular major league season, 26 players are currently on 40-man rosters, an increase of one over last spring training, and 16 players that we know of have been given non-roster invitations.  That means only nine more players need to be tabbed to top last season's total.  That number seems almost certain to be exceded, possibly by a fairly wide margin, once organizations return from an end-of-year break and more of them identify their non-roster invitation lists.

For starters in increasing the list, four established major leaguers still are free agents, beginning with right-handed pitcher Luke Hochevar and infielder Stephen Drew.  Tom Wilhelmsen and Jerome Williams also remain available to any team although their careers probably are considerably closer to the end than the beginning.

Pitchers dominate the ranks of players headed to spring training, as always.  Hurlers have 32 of the 42 spots already known by "Chatter" with three catchers, a similar number of infielders and four outfielders.  The American Association and Atlantic League continue to have the most players on the list.

Stay tuned.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Although Different, Hernandez And Runzler Both Headed To MLB Camps

Ariel Hernandez and Dan Runzler could not be much different except that both are pitchers.

Hernandez is only 24, born in the Dominican Republic and is a right-hander who has not pitched above Class A, but is considered a major league prospect since he has averaged well over one strikeout per inning since his professional debut as an 18-year-old.

Runzler is 31, a California-born southpaw, who is trying to re-kindle a major league career that started back in '09.

Oh, both have spent a majority of their career in the San Francisco organization although neither is with the Giants now.  And, of course, they have relied on Independent Baseball for some of their recent opportunities.

What brings them together, in a sense, is that both will be in major league spring training camps thanks to recent developments.  Hernandez was promoted to Cincinnati's 40-man winter roster, the only former Indy player to earn this new distinction since the season ended.  Runzler is the first of an eventual 20 or so recent Independent players that we have identified to be a non-roster invitee to spring training, this time with Pittsburgh.

Runzler has been one of the most highly discussed potential major leaguers in any Indy league the last two seasons because of some dazzling bullpen efforts while with the Sugar Land (TX) Skeeters of the Atlantic League.  He had 0.52 and 1.95 earned run averages in these two seasons for Gary Gaetti's Skeeters, with some time at Triple-A for Arizona and Minnesota, respectively, in '15 and '16 without being able to duplicate the tiny ERAs.  The Pirates hope he might help their bullpen, at least matcting the 3.86 ERA he compiled in 89 games spread over four seasons for San Francisco, the last of which was four years ago.

Hernandez's time in the Frontier League was very brief (two relief appearances for the Frontier Greys in the '15 season), although it is not uncommon for these stints to pay off for a player who needs a change of scenery before moving to a new major league organization.  He did strike out five of the eight batters he faced early that season before Arizona picked him up.  He moved on to Cincinnati's farm system this season and after 74 strikeouts and only 29 hits in 62 innings during 43 appearances with two Class A teams the Reds had seen enough to know he needed to be protected at the highest level.  A combined 2.18 ERA appears to be only part of the impressive story.


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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

45 Former Indy Players In Major League Baseball

The story keeps getting better for Independent Baseball.

When Toronto Blue Jays added right-hander Chris Smith to its roster Wednesday the record number of former independent players to wear a major league uniform during the regular season climbed to 45. That is four more than the previous high established two years ago, according to records maintained by IndyBaseballChatter.com.

Yes, two of the 45 are named Chris Smith and both are righties. The other Smith is with Oakland A's. Toronto’s Smith, a 28-year-old native of Louisville, started his professional career in the Frontier League in 2010. He is the second pitcher who threw his first professional pitch in a non-major-league-affiliated circuit to reach the majors in recent weeks. The other is Boston lefty Robby Scott.

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