Some leftovers from our weekly Independent Baseball Insider column as well as developments that have caught our eye early this weekend:
Jason Jarvis, who was raved about in our May 29 column, did get drafted, likely bringing his time with the Lincoln (NE) Saltdogs of the American Association to closure soon. But he will only enter the San Francisco Giants' farm system as a 23rd round choice. Two terrific outings against division-leading St. Paul, MN probably came too late to boost him into a higher round.
Jarvis, who hopes to follow Luke Hochevar and Max Scherzer and give the American Association three right-handers in the majors in the not-too-distant future, struck out the Saints in order in two consecutive appearances Wednesday and Thursday. He has a 1.64 earned run average with 12 strikeouts in 11 innings while posting an 0-1 record with one save for Lincoln.
"His fastball is already major-league quality, and (pitching coach) Jim Haller has really helped him to develop an outstanding changeup," praised Saltdogs skipper Tim Johnson. Jarvis had last pitched for Arizona State.
ANTON FRENCH RESUMES HIS PLAYING CAREER
What a surprise to see that Anton French resumed his playing career this week with Sioux City, IA of the American Association.
It was only in mid-March when the 32-year-old speedster gave me the impression he was totally happy in his new life as Philadelphia's organizational bunting and baserunning instructor after 15 seasons in which French stole 476 bases and did everything but reach the major leagues.
The 5-foot-11, left-handed hitter has started off by reaching base six times in his first 16 plate appearances. He is 3-for-13 (.231) with two singles, a double and three walks. This is French's sixth Independent league, following the Northeast (Massachusetts Mad Dogs, Lynn, Allentown, PA and Quebec), Atlantic (Long Island, NY and Somerset, NJ), Western (Sonoma County), Can-Am (North Shore Spirit, Lynn) and Northern (Winnipeg, Canada).
It is obvious French still likes the Independent leagues, which he told me this spring, is where he learned "I could take control of the game."
WILL MINOR LEAGUES REGRET LOSING MIKE VEECK?
Independent Baseball would seem to be the winner and Minor League Baseball the loser with innovative Mike Veeck indicating he is walking away from the affiliated ranks, presumably because of their continued hassles to keep entrepreneurs from having ownership roles on both sides of the ledger.
Veeck, who also carries on the family name in the sport following his Hall of Fame father Bill, is getting deeper into the Indy ranks. His latest involvement is to lead a group of investors who will build a ballpark for a Frontier League team in Normal, IL. The group already has City Council approval.
Veeck already has Independent links through the St. Paul Saints and Sioux Falls (SD) Canaries in the American Association as well as the Brockton (MA) Rox of the Can-Am League. He had been heavily involved with three affiliated team.