Isn't it neat that the top batting average, the No. 1 on-base percentage and the best runs batted in production in the entire minor league system in 2007 belong to players with strong Independent Baseball backgrounds.
I did not realize this until I got to my current Baseball America, which still does a tremendous job of reporting on the future stars of this great sport.
Brian Myrow, who still is looking for his first long term opportunity in the majors at the age of 31 but likely wouldn't have played professionally at all without an Indy contract (Winnipeg, Northern League, 1999-2001), led every minor league hitter with his .354 batting average and his .440 on-base percentage for the Portland Beavers in the Pacific Coast League.
Myrow received limited at bats, although some were in key situations, late in the season with San Diego after a similar trial with the Dodgers in '06. The lefty hitter, hampered by lacking the everyday major league tools that make baseball decision-makers drool, should get a long look somewhere next spring.
John Lindsey, one of the favorite subjects in our Independent Baseball Insider columns this summer, ended up leading everyone else in the minors with his 121 RBI. This two-time standout with the New Jersey Jackals in the Can-Am League drove in 33 runs in 56 games for Class AA Jacksonville, FL, then really turned it only with 88 RBI in only 77 games for Las Vegas. That adds up to 133 games, and the best he could do in 125 Can-Am contests in '05 and '06 was 103 RBI.
Lindsey, a 30-year-old first baseman, just missed making the top five in the minors with his 30 home runs. Nineteen of the round-trippers and 26 additional doubles came during his splurge in the PCL. One would think the Dodgers would give Lindsey a look in the spring even though they have young James Loney at first base.
On the pitching side of the ledger, onetime Golden Leaguer Adam Pettyjohn posted 16 wins in the Milwaukee organization, only one behind the best total in the minors. Two seasons after starring in the GBL's first season (10-2 at Long Beach, CA) the onetime Detroit hurler was 16-6 between AA and AAA.
Baseball America selected Chico, CA outfielder Daniel Nava as the best prospect among 2007 Independent Baseball players after his MVP season in the Golden League. BA believes all of the top ten Indy prospects are in the Golden, Northern, South Coast, United and Frontier leagues, surprisingly leaving out the Atlantic, American Association and Can-Am. Nava, 24, is a switch hitter with power from both sides and a good outfield arm.
The Golden League reports the former Santa Clara athlete has been invited to offseason tryouts by Philadelphia, Toronto and San Francisco.
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
MINORS' TOP HITTING, RBI MEN CAME OUT OF INDEPENDENT LEAGUES
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.