When I featured onetime relief ace Sparky Lyle in yesterday's subscriber-only Independent Baseball Insider column space would not allow the luxury of getting into everything we discussed, including the Somerset (NJ) Patriots manager's thoughts regarding the major league chances of anyone off the 2008 Atlantic League championship team.
Lyle should know something about this subject since four former Patriots were in the big time at season's end, including backup catcher Michel Hernandez now in the American League Division Series with Tampa Bay.
His top pick to have a chance is third baseman Brandon Larson, the Atlantic League Championship Series MVP when he hit .458 with three homers and seven runs batted in.
Wait 'til you read Lyle's praise.
"A pure hitter" to start with, he said of the right-handed batsman out of LSU who hit .304 this season with 95 RBI and 30 home runs. And, Larson is "the best defensive third baseman in the league". Not just now, but in the Atlantic League's 11 years, Lyle believes.
The odds against Larson getting back to the majors, where he has played 109 games over a span of a few years with Cincinnati, may seem a bit odd at age 32, but who am I to argue with the Somerset boss, who has won four championships and seen 10 of his Patriots players reach the majors.