Monday, January 16, 2012


Major league organizations reached into the Independent ranks for still more signings last week, with our count (which could be slightly behind) at 21 since the end of last season. These are new signings and do not include players who already were in one of the 30 farm systems or the total would be much higher.

Miami continues to be active in grabbing both players and coaches, the latter which will be one of our features in this week's Independent Baseball Insider column. The Marlins' recent signees include power-hitting Ryan Patterson, whose late-season acquisition nearly propelled St. Paul, MN to the American Association title.

The 28-year-old outfielder, who was singled out for the Pointstreak Star of Stars Award for producing the best statistical season in the league, banged 20 homers, drove in 90 runs and hit .325 in 99 combined games with Wichita, KS, Fort Worth, TX and finally the Saints. He was among the league leaders in most every offensive category, and even stole 16 bases. Patterson drove in 13 runs in only 11 games with St. Paul to help get the Saints into the playoffs, then drove in nine more runs in 10postseason games.

The Kansas City (KS) T-Bones, who already have seen recent hurlers Erik Hamren and Justin James reach the major leagues with San Diego and Oakland, respectively, hope lefty Kris Johnson could be next. Pittsburgh signed the 27-year-old after he went 6-3 with a 3.23 earned run average in 16 starts for the American Association team. He was originally a first-round draft choice of the Boston Red Sox when he came out of Wichita State in 2006.

Baltimore has gotten into the act, according the media reports. The Orioles are said to have signed second baseman-outfielder Peter Fatse, a Milwaukee draftee in 2009, after he hit .279 with five homers, 41 RBI and 17 steals for Pittsfield, MA in the Can-Am League last season. Fatse's contract was bought from Newark, NJ only weeks after the Bears took him in the dispersal draft of Pittsfield players.

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