Friday, February 09, 2018


Another couple of names likely will be added, but has compiled another impressive list of 56 players who have toiled in Independent leagues and are due in major league spring training camps.  Twenty-six of them are on 40-man rosters while the other 31 are non-roster invitees, a count that has swelled the last few days as veteran outfielder Daniel Nava (Pittsburgh) and established reliever Tom Wilhelmsen (San Diego) have reached agreements that include spring training opportunities.

Forty-four pitchers--four more than one year ago--are included along with four catchers, five infielders and four outfielders.

The four primary Independent leagues (American Association, Atlantic, Can-Am and Frontier) have given most of these players their opportunities although the smaller Pecos League and former circuits such as the Golden, Northern, North American and United continue to have players at this level.

Two unsigned veterans (infielder Stephen Drew and reliever Craig Breslow) could increase the total count and some major league organizations may add to their non-roster invitations.  The modern day trend of bringing players up from minor league camps for one or more exhibition games will give still more Indy players exposure to the major league brass.

The list of onetime Independent players expected in the 30 camps, by position, with the major league team and where each person played in the Independent ranks:

         Pitchers (44)--Henderson Alvarez, Philadelphia (Long Island, Atlantic League); NR*Ryan Atkinson, Arizona (Evansville, Frontier League); NR-Austin Bibens-Dirkx, Texas (Lancaster, Atlantic, and Victoria, Golden League); Buddy Boshers, Houston (Somerset, Atlantic); John Brebbia, St. Louis (Sioux Falls and Laredo, American Association);  NR-Tyler Cloyd, Miami (Somerset, Atlantic);  NR-Steve Delabar, Texas (Brockton, Can-Am League, and Florence, Frontier); NR-Jose Flores, San Francisco (Sioux City, American Association); Wilmer Font, Los Angeles-NL (Ottawa, Can-Am); Luis Garcia, Philadelphia (Newark, Can-Am); Junior Guerra, Milwaukee (Wichita, American Association); NR-Cody Hall, Tampa Bay (Lancaster); Ariel Hernandez, Cincinnati (Frontier Greys, Frontier); Rich Hill, Los Angeles-NL (Long Island); James Hoyt, Houston (Wichita; Edinburg and Yuma, North American League); Scott Kazmir, Atlanta (Sugar Land, Atlantic); NR-Mike Kickham, Miami (Kansas City, American Association); Brandon Kintzler, Washington (St. Paul, American Association, and Winnipeg, Northern League);  NR-Kevin Lenik, Kansas City (Windy City, Frontier); NR-Brandon Mann, Texas (Fargo, American Association, and Lancaster); *Chris Martin, Texas (Grand Prairie, American Association); NR-Jarret Martin, Oakland (Sussex County, Rockland and Ottawa, Can-Am League, and York, Atlantic); NR-Tim Melville, Baltimore (Long Island); NR-Brian Moran, Los Angeles-NL (Bridgeport, Atlantic); James Needy, Miami (Sioux City, American Association); NR-Vidal Nuno, Tampa Bay (Washington, Frontier); Edward Paredes, Los Angeles-NL (York, Atlantic); *James Paxton, Seattle (Grand Prairie); NR*Trevor Richards, Miami (Gateway, Frontier); *Tanner Roark, Washington (Southern Illinois, Frontier); Chaz Roe, Tampa Bay (Laredo, American Association); NR-Drew Rucinski, Miami (Rockford, Frontier); *Max Scherzer, Washington (Fort Worth, American Association);  NR-Bo Schultz, Pittsburgh (Grand Prairie, American Association); Robby Scott, Boston (Yuma);  NR-Tayler Scott, Texas (Sioux City); NR-Chris Smith, Washington (Lake Erie, Traverse City and Washington, Frontier; White Sands, Pecos League); Josh Smoker, Pittsburgh (Rockford);  NR-Robert Stock, San Diego (New Jersey and Sussex County, Can-Am); NR-Marcus Walden, Boston (Lancaster); NR-Tom Wilhelmsen, San Diego (Tucson, Golden); *Aaron Wilkerson, Milwaukee (Grand Prairie; Florence, Frontier; Fort Worth, United League); NR*Eric Yardley, San Diego (Trinidad and Taos, Pecos); Brad Ziegler, Miami (Schaumburg, Northern).

            Catchers (4)--NR-Rafael Lopez, San Diego (Bridgeport,  Atlantic); Rene Rivera, Los Angeles-AL (Camden, Atlantic);  NR-Jan Vasquez, Colorado (Long Island); NR (Also plays 1B)-Shawn Zarraga, Los Angeles-NL (Cleburne, American Association).

            Infielders (5)--NR-Ryan Court, Chicago-NL (Sioux City); NR-Steve Lombardozzi, Oakland (Southern Maryland, Atlantic); NR-SS Peter Mooney, Miami (New Jersey); NR-1B Brandon Snyder, Tampa Bay (Southern Maryland); Ildemaro Vargas, Arizona (Bridgeport, Atlantic).

            Outfielders (4)--NR-Jeremy Barfield, Boston (Sugar Land and Camden, Atlantic); Jose Martinez, St. Louis (Rockford); NR*Daniel Nava, Pittsburgh (Chico, Golden); David Peralta, Arizona (Amarillo and Wichita, American Association; Rio Grande Valley, North American).

            *First professional game was in an Independent league.
            NR-Non-roster invitee.

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