Today's stories are absolutely juicy.
One year ago Stephen Cardullo was an all-star outfielder in the Can-Am League, hitting .331 for the Rockland Boulders (Pomona, NY). Today, the soon-to-be 29-year-old can boast of hitting .308 with 26 doubles, 5 triples, 17 homers and 72 RBI for the Los Angeles Dodgers' top farm club in Albuquerque.
Omar Bencomo, a 27-year-old who had to fight his way back after gunshot wounds in his native Venezuela that kept him off the diamond for two years, rebounded through Italy and the American Association (Laredo, TX and Wichita, KS), and the right-hander has recently been promoted by Minnesota to the Twins' Triple-A club in Rochester, NY. He has split his first two starts for the Red Wings. "I'm so proud to be here," he told The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. "A lot of things happened to me to get here. I took a long time to get 100 per cent but I'm here."
Mike Zouzalik was a strikeout-per-inning reliever for the St. Paul (MN) Saints of the American Association last season (4-1, 2.06 in 39 appearances) before his contract was purchased by Baltimore. He had split this season between Class A Frederick, MD and Double-A Bowie, MD until recently when he was promoted to Norfolk, VA. In his first appearance in Triple-A, the righty escaped one bases loaded jam and worked three scoreless innings. "When I got released (Texas in 2014), I was really kind of relieved," he told The Norfolk Pilot. "I was throwing, and I had no idea where it was going...I just wasn't really having fun. When I played with Wichita (his first American Association team later that year) and we won the championship, that reminded me how much fun this game is. That was huge for me."
Ross Vance got his initial professional opportunity this season in the first-year United Shore League (Utica, MI), but St. Louis came along early on and purchased the 24-year-old lefty. He already has 47 strikeouts in a mere 34 innings for Johnson City, TN of the Appalachian League, winning all three of his decisions and posting a 2.38 earned run average in 13 appearances (two starts).
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