Pitchers who have paid their dues in Independent leagues are continuing to get new opportunities in the major leagues.
The two most recent examples are Milwaukee's Aaron Wilkerson, who started his professional journey in the now defunct United League, and reliever Robert Stock of San Diego, who came out of the Can-Am League (New Jersey Jackals) only two years ago.
They join 17 others who currently are drawing major league paychecks, although two are on the disabled list.
Wilkerson will be monitored closely in that the Brewers are driving toward a possible postseason berth, and the 29-year-old could work into starting roles. He debuted in the major late last season (three appearances; two starts) and went to spring training to compete for a rotation job only to injure his non-throwing (left) shoulder on a swing just before the regular season.
He has been back on the mound since mid-May, posting a nice 2.08 earned run average in eight appearances (seven starts) for Triple-A Colorado Springs. He had a rocky first appearance of '18 for Milwaukee, allowing Cincinnati three runs and five hits in three innings Sunday.
Wilkerson broke into the professional ranks with Fort Worth (United League), Florence, KY of the Frontier League and Grand Prairie, TX of the American Association in 2013, then returned to Grand Prairie early the next season before Boston bought his contract.
Stock, 28, had a full season with New Jersey two years ago, posting a 2.85 ERA (1-2, five saves) in 52 appearances. He has relieved four times in a week in his first trip to the majors, striking out five in three innings with a 3.00 ERA for the Padres.
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Monday, July 02, 2018
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.