Osborn is one of most refreshing personalities I have met in Independent Baseball, and the fact he made a smooth transition from all-star third baseman to skilled manager at the age of 31 speaks volumes about his future. The onetime Florida Gators star (he hit .414 his final year with 17 homers and 76 RBI in 65 games) led the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Waldorf) to playoff berths in his two seasons of managing in the Atlantic League against very experienced competition.
Prior to replacing Butch Hobson with the Blue Crabs, Osborn starred for Southern Maryland for four seasons. He had gotten as high as Class AA in six seasons after Cleveland tabbed him in the second round of the ’02 free agent draft.
The Atlantic League now has at least two prominent jobs open. York, PA is seeking a pitching coach to replace John Halama, who reportedly is seeking a coaching opportunity with a major league organization.
URQUIDEZ PORTRAYING MARIANO IN MEXICAN LEAGUE; BURGAMY TOPS IN HOMERS
The Mexican League hardly equates to the American League, but Jason Urquidez, who is a free agent to the best of my knowledge, is making like Mariano Rivera with a 0.57 earned run average in that winter league. Urquidez, who was signed by the Los Angeles Angels out of Lancaster, PA in the Atlantic League last season, has 21 saves and a 2-0 record in 26 appearances. He also has 31 strikeouts in the same number of innings.
At 31, Urquidez’s ERA was even better (0.25) at Lancaster, where he posted 24 saves and struck out 48 in 36 innings. Unfortunately, he did not fare as well at Triple-A Salt Lake City where he was 1-2 with one save and a 6.92 ERA in 11 appearances. He did fan more than one an inning.
Longtime Independent hitting standout Brian Burgamy is pacing the Mexican League in homers (13), two more than former major leaguer and 2013 Atlantic League standout Jake Fox (Somerset, NJ). Fox leads Burgamy in the RBI chase, 48-42. Burgamy split this past season between Atlantic League teams in Camden, NJ and York along with St. Paul, MN of the American Association.
EPPLEY GETS MAJOR LEAGUE INVITE FROM PIRATES
Cody Eppley is no doubt best known as a strong member of the New York Yankees bullpen in 2012 (1-2, 3.33 in 59 appearances plus four scoreless outings against Detroit in the ALDS), but he finished this season with six appearances for Lancaster. Pittsburgh recently signed the right-hander to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training. Eppley also has pitched in the majors for Texas and Minnesota.
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