This corner continues to be impressed with the depth of talent coming out Independent Baseball. The latest evidence is that at least 19 roster players and 28 non-roster invitees with Independent experience will be in major league spring training camps starting next week. That number will almost certainly swell to more than 50 as free agents continue to sign and the big-league teams bring minor leaguers up to fill out rosters for certain exhibition games in Florida and Arizona.
When we dissect the numbers, how impressive is it to find out 15 of the players--nearly one-third of them--started on the Independent diamonds and that eight of them played at least part of last season in a non-affiliated league. All of the latter group was attached to the Atlantic League, which makes sense since that 10-year-old circuit was set up to cater to the more experienced players who needed another opportunity with a major league organization.
Seven current leagues and three former ones all contributed to the list.
Just over half of the 47 players--24, to be exact--are pitchers, but all positions are well represented. We broke some of this down along individual Independent league lines in this week's Independent Baseball Insider column, which was delivered to subscribers Thursday.
The non-roster lineup we have identified, including major league affiliation, the Independent cities and their current or previous league affiliation, asterisks signify the players who started in an Independent league and DNP means a player signed with but did not actually play for the team:
PITCHERS (14)—Craig Anderson, Baltimore, Brockton, MA, Can-Am League; Bobby Brownlie, Washington, Newark, NJ, Atlantic League; D.J. Carrasco, Chicago-AL, Johnstown, PA, Frontier League; Kane Davis, Toronto, Somerset and Camden, NJ, Atlantic; Brendan Donnelly, Cleveland, Ohio Valley, Frontier, Nashua, NH, Can-Am; Nate Field, New York-NL, Sioux City, IA, American Association; Chris Fussell, Camden, Atlantic; Roberto Giron, Kansas City, Kalamazoo, MI, Frontier League, Duluth, MN, Northern League, Rio Grande, TX, United League, Springfield/Ozarks, MO, Texas-Louisiana League; Jeff Harris, Cleveland, Quebec, Can-Am, Chico, CA, Golden League; Gary Knotts, Philadelphia, Newark, NJ, Atlantic; *Brian Mazone, Philadelphia, Joliet, IL, Northern, Zion, UT, Western League; Adam Pettyjohn, Cincinnati, Long Beach, CA, Golden; *Matt Wilhite, Los Angeles-AL, Kenosha, WI, Frontier; Brad Ziegler, Oakland, Schaumburg, IL, Northern.
CATCHER (4)—Robinson Cancel, New York-NL, Pennsylvania and Somerset, Atlantic, Edinburg, TX, United; Ben Davis, Baltimore, Camden, Atlantic; Michel Hernandez, Pittsburgh, Somerset, Atlantic; Ryan Smith, Chicago-AL, Berkshire, MA and Albany, NY, Northeast League, Edinburg (DNP), Amarillo, TX and Alexandria, LA, United, Lincoln, NE, American Association, Elmira, NY, Can-Am League, Chico, Golden.
INFIELDERS (5)—Edgardo Alfonzo, Texas, Long Island and Bridgeport, Atlantic; *Tagg Bozied, Florida, Sioux Falls, SD, American Association; *Mike Cervenak, Philadelphia, Chillicothe, OH, Frontier; Aaron Herr, Cleveland, Lancaster (DNP), PA, Atlantic; John Lindsey, Los Angeles-NL, New Jersey (Little Falls) Can-Am.
OUTFIELDERS (5)—*Justin Christian, New York-AL, River City (O’Fallon, MO), Frontier; Juan Gonzalez, St. Louis, Long Island, Atlantic; Chad Hermansen, Los Angeles-AL, Sioux Falls, American Association; Jorge Piedra, Florida, Long Island, Atlantic, Jon Weber, Oakland, Fargo, ND, Northern, Canton, OH, Frontier.