The count has already reached 38, based on records maintained by IndyBaseballChatter.com, only three below the high-water mark reached two years ago. The final count last season was 37.
The confidence that a new mark will be established stems from the fact several more players could easily get the call. And there is always the chance of another Rich Hill situation of a player still laboring in an Indy circuit in August who could have his contract purchased and he could land at the game's highest level days later.
Here are some of the top candidates to reach active major league status this year.
Rehabbing veteran Tanner Scheppers seems likely to join the Texas Rangers when rosters expand September 1, and another possibility is RHP Aaron Wilkerson, now working in Triple-A for Milwaukee. Veteran lefty Joe Thatcher could join his new parent, the Chicago Cubs.
THE DISABLED LIST GROWS
With Tim Adleman (New Jersey, Can-Am League, and El Paso and Lincoln, American Association) back in the majors with Cincinnati, 16 onetime Independent players are active on major league rosters. The unusual aspect is that another nine, very likely a high-water mark, are on major league disabled lists. Seven of those are pitchers.
WILKERSON BENEFITTED FROM INDEPENDENT PLAY
On paper, Aaron Wilkerson seemed to have benefitted from the trade last month when he went from Boston's Triple-A Pawtucket farm club to the corresponding level in the Milwaukee chain at Colorado Springs. And, he knows he owes his second chance at reaching the major leagues to time he spent in Independent Baseball after being out of the game for a couple of years and moving on with his life outside of the game.
"Independent ball was my way of doing a self-evaluation," the 27-year-old told The Colorado Springs Gazette recently. "I was able to put up good numbers (at Florence, KY of the Frontier League and Grand Prairie, TX of the American Association) and another opportunity came my way."
The right-hander has struggled since joining Colorado Springs (1-5, 6.69 in eight starts) after a strong start to the season with Boston's top two farm clubs (6-3, 2.14) led to talk of a major league call-up, but he had an encouraging no-decision start Wednesday when he struck out 10 El Paso batters in six innings of three-run work.
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