Monday, February 22, 2016


Fans of Independent Baseball are virtually guaranteed of an exciting lead-up to the major league season as well as to the Indy openers in April and May because another strong contingent of players who have spent time developing their talent in the non-affiliated leagues are wearing uniforms representing one of the 30 American and National League teams in spring training.

Records maintained exclusively by show exactly 50 onetime Independent players are official invitees to the camps spread throughout Arizona and Florida, with many of them totally dependent on the Indy leagues in order to get any momentum toward a big-league career and some using this route to rehab from an injury or develop new skills so they can re-energize their professional life. The 50-man contingent is evenly divided between 40-man roster players and non-roster invitees.

The Independent league graduates could take the field any given day as a unit since all positions are represented although, as usual, the top-heavy number–38 of the 50–are pitchers.

The complete roster, by position, with the major league team and the Independent affiliations in parenthesis. An asterisk indicates the player started his professional career in an Indy league while an “n” in front of the player indicates he is in spring training as a non-roster player competing to make a 25-man opening day roster.

Pitchers (38)–nTim Adleman, Cincinnati (New Jersey, Can-Am League, and El Paso and Lincoln, American Association); nDylan Axelrod, Miami (Windy City, Frontier League); nBuddy Boshers, Minnesota (Somerset, Atlantic League); nCraig Breslow, Miami (New Jersey, Northeast League); n*Greg Burke, Philadelphia (Atlantic City, Atlantic); nAngel Castro, Oakland (Lincoln); nHunter Cervenka, Atlanta (Sugar Land, Atlantic); n*Aaron Crow, Chicago-NL (Fort Worth, American Association); Steve Delabar, Toronto (Brockton, Can-Am, and Florence, Frontier); Jon Edwards, San Diego (San Angelo, North American League, and Alpine, Pecos League); Luis Garcia, Philadelphia (Newark, Can-Am); nJarrett Grube, Cleveland (Southern Maryland, Atlantic); Junior Guerra, Milwaukee (Wichita, American Association); Rich Hill, Oakland (Long Island, Atlantic); *Luke Hochevar, Kansas City (Fort Worth); John Holdzkom, Pittsburgh (Amarillo and Sioux City, American Association, and San Angelo, United League); n*James Hoyt, Houston (Wichita and Edinburg and Yuma, North American); Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles-NL (Sugar Land); nLogan Kensing, Detroit (Bridgeport, Atlantic); nBrandon Kintzler, Minnesota (St. Paul, American Association, and Winnipeg, Northern League); Vidal Nuno, Seattle (Washington, Frontier); *James Paxton, Seattle (Grand Prairie, American Association); nScott Rice, Arizona (York, Long Island, and Newark, Atlantic); *Tanner Roark, Washington (Southern Illinois, Frontier); Chaz Roe, Baltimore (Laredo, American Association); nDrew Rucinski, Chicago-NL (Rockford, Frontier); nDan Runzler, Minnesota (Sugar Land); *Tanner Scheppers, Texas (St. Paul); *Max Scherzer, Washington (Fort Worth); Bo Schultz, Toronto (Sioux Falls and Grand Prairie, American Association); nJoe Thatcher, Cleveland (River City, Frontier); *Ian Thomas, Los Angeles-NL (York and Winnipeg, Northern and American Association); nChien-Ming Wang, Kansas City (Southern Maryland); nChris Smith, Oakland (Sugar Land and Wichita); Josh Smoker, New York-NL (Rockford); nTim Stauffer, Arizona (Sugar Land); Tom Wilhelmsen, Texas (Tucson, Golden League); Brad Ziegler, Arizona (Schaumburg, Northern).

Catchers (2) – Rene Rivera, Tampa Bay (Camden, Atlantic); nEddy Rodriguez, New York-AL (Sioux Falls and El Paso, American Association).

Infielders (4) –nSS-2B Robert Andino, Miami (Somerset); *1B-OF Chris Colabello, Toronto (Worcester and Nashua, Can-Am), *2B-SS Stephen Drew, Washington (Camden); n1B-3B Balbino Fuenmayor, Kansas City (Quebec, Can-Am; Laredo, American Association; Frontier Greys, Frontier).

Outfielders (6) —nJoe Benson, Minnesota (Sugar Land); Jose Martinez, Kansas City (Rockford); *Daniel Nava, Los Angeles-AL (Chico, Golden); David Peralta, Arizona (Amarillo and Wichita and Rio Grande Valley, North American); nAntoan Richardson, Pittsburgh (Schaumburg); nOF-1B Reynaldo Rodriguez, Minnesota (Yuma, Golden).

Scheppers, Pat Misch Already Scratched

The list of former Independent players slated for major league camps lost one hopeful as spring training was opening because southpaw Pat Misch, a former major leaguer who divided last season between the Miami farm system and Taiwan with a two-game pit stop at Lancaster, PA of the Atlantic League (1-0, 1.80), was granted a release from his agreement with Milwaukee in order to pitcher for the Orix Buffaloes in Japan.

While Texas reliever Tanner Scheppers is considered one of the 50 Indy players in major league camps, the veteran, who started his pro career with the St. Paul (MN) Saints of the American Association, has been ruled out until as least the All-Star Break because of a new knee injury. He is returning to the Metroplex area for surgery.

Get the independent minor league baseball trivia question of the day by clicking this link: Independent Minor League Baseball Trivia Questions

Wednesday, February 03, 2016


The Caribbean Series always signals excitement for various reasons.

Countries involved have so much passion for baseball, and the series, this year being contested in the Dominican Republic, also leads the Baseball World into a brand new season.

Independent Baseball fans should find considerable enjoyment since a nice number of its former (and sometimes current) players are getting additional exposure.

While we likely will miss a few players, here are some of the Independent players on the current 28-man rosters with their major league affiliation (if any) in parenthesis.

Dominican: OF Lew Ford, Long Island, Atlantic League.

Mexico: 1B Cyle Hankerd, Amarillo, American Association, and Southern Maryland, Atlantic League.

Puerto Rico: LHP Andrew Barbosa (New York-NL) Long Island; RHP Chris Smith (Toronto) Lake Erie, Traverse City and Washington, Frontier League, and White Sands, Pecos League.

Venezuela: RHP Omar Bencomo, Laredo and Wichita, American Association; RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Victoria, Golden League; RHP Marcus Walden (Minnesota), Lancaster, Atlantic League; OF Jose Martinez (Kansas City major league roster), Rockford, Frontier League; OF Teodoro Martinez, Rockford.

Cuba: None.


The first of four qualifying tournaments for next year's World Baseball Classic begins February 11 in Australia, and it also will have some Independent players. They include:

Australia: RHP Ryan Searle, Grand Prairie, American Association; C Allan de San Miguel, Southern Maryland, Atlantic League.

Philippines: 1B Angelo Songco (Los Angeles-NL), St. Paul, American Association.

South Africa: SS Anthony Phillips (Los Angeles-NL), St. Paul.

New Zealand rounds out this qualifier with only the championship team advancing to the WBC.


Former Atlantic League players Robert Andino of Somerset, an infielder, and LHP Pat Misch of Lancaster are the most recent additions among Independent players who have received invitations to major league spring training camps. Andino signed with Miami after the '15 season while Misch was inked by Milwaukee. We now can identify 46 former Independent players who will be in major league camps. We will post the entire roster before camps open.

Get the independent minor league baseball trivia question of the day by clicking this link: Independent Minor League Baseball Trivia Questions