It is time to look at some numbers. Amazing numbers, really, which both MLB and Independent Baseball should love.
**When spring training camps opened, a record 56 (one less than we originally reported) players who have been in Independent leagues were in major league camps. Twenty-seven of them were on 40-man rosters; the other 29 were non-roster invitees. The number has gone back with 27 with one recent addition.
**47 of them (as best we know) still are in major league camps two weeks from Opening Day.
**At least another 57 former Indy players now in major league organizations have been brought over from minor league camps for one or more major league games with more added virtually daily. Many of these players have gotten into Grapefruit or Cactus League games including former Independent Players of the Year (Baseball America) Balbino Fuenmayor (Quebec, Can-Am League, 2014) with Atlanta and Art Charles (New Jersey, Can-Am League, 2016) with Milwaukee. Both are primarily first basemen, and both have hit a home run. THIS MEANS AT LEAST 114 FORMER INDEPENDENT PLAYERS HAVE BEEN IN UNIFORM FOR MAJOR LEAGUE GAMES THIS SPRING.
WBC NUMBERS IMPRESSIVE, TOO
IndyBaseballChatter has identified 48 onetime (some are current) Independent players who have been on active rosters for teams in the World Baseball Classic. (It is possible others have been overlooked.)
Eleven of that group are scheduled for the semifinals starting Monday night at Dodger Stadium. The list is dominated by seven with The Netherlands. Six of those played in the American Association or are scheduled to do so this year. Puerto Rico has three and the United States roster includes former Frontier League right-hander Tanner Roark of Washington, who is expected to start the championship game if the Team USA gets that far. Roark threw his very first professional pitches for Southern Illinois.
The top candidates among players not already established in the major leagues to get Opening Day jobs would seem to include St. Louis outfielder Jose Martinez (Rockford, Frontier League) and Colorado first baseman-outfielder Stephen Cardullo (Rockland, Can-Am League). Cardullo has hit three home runs, including two grand slams, and has been leading the Rockies in runs batted in while Martinez has shown steady power while hitting well above .300.
Get the independent minor league baseball trivia question of the day by clicking this link: Independent Minor League Baseball Trivia Questions
Monday, March 20, 2017
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.