Add one more person to the lengthy list of baseball people who have used the Independent leagues as a springboard to managing in a major league organization.
Washington hired Brian Daubach, who took the Pittsfield (MA) Colonials from a late startup all the way to the Can-Am League championship series, to manage its South Atlantic League club in Hagerstown, MD. The onetime major leaguer was named Can-Am Manager of the Year for building Pittsfield from an 8-18 June to a 20-9 July and ultimately the third bast overall record in the league.
VALDES, ZAVADA LOSE 40-MAN ROSTER POSITIONS
The New York Mets have outrighted lefty Raul Valdes, the Can-Am grad (New Jersey, Nashua) who had some solid moments in his rookie major league season, to Triple-A and Arizona did the same to southpaw Clay Zavada (Southern Illinois, Frontier League), who was 3-3, 3.35 in 49 games with the parent club in 2009 before being sidelined virtually all of this season.
SO MANY WINTER LEAGUE OPPORTUNITIES
It was not long ago when Independent league players had a difficult time finding Winter League opportunities, but that is not the case any longer. The American Association reported recently that 39 of its current or former players are playing in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Mexico or Colombia. The Can-Am League had 28 in those same leagues.
Raul Valdes (see story above), who was 3-3 with a save and a 4.91 earned run average in 38 games during his rookie major league season, has 17 strikeouts in 12.1 innings in three appearances (two starts) to go with a 1-0 record and a 1.46 ERA in the Dominican.
The best winter league pitching marks belong to another southpaw, Alberto Castillo, who shuttled between the Baltimore bullpen and Triple-A all summer. He has five victories (in as many decisions) already to lead the Mexican Pacific League. Castillo ranks third with a 2.25 ERA after five starts. He has been a frequent Independent Baseball player, working for Atlantic League teams in Newark and Camden, NJ plus the traveling Road Warriors and for Schaumburg, IL in the Northern League.
Jarrett Grube, whose contract was purchased by Seattle from Southern Maryland early in the Atlantic League season, is 3-1, 2.28 after five starts in Venezuela.
Tom Wilhelmsen, a Seattle farmhand by way of the Golden League (Tucson, AZ), has the fourth best earned run average at 0.96 in the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League. He has 14 strikeouts in 9.1 innings. Brandon Kintzler, who finished the National League season with Milwaukee, is 1-0, 3.00 after eight appearances. Kintzler spent his Indy time with American Association cities St. Paul, MN and Winnipeg, CA although the latter still was in the Northern League at the time.
Among hitters, the Mexican League batting leader is Justin Christian (Southern Maryland) at .411, with Marshall McDougall (Pensacola, FL, American Association, 2009) third at .409 and Sandy Madera (Newark, NJ) sixth at .352. Madera's 23 RBI in only 91 at bats rank No. 2, and the first baseman-DH has seven home runs.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
CAN-AM MANAGER OF THE YEAR GETS AFFILIATED JOB; SOLID PERFORMANCES NUMEROUS IN WINTER 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.