Oh, those right-handed Independent Baseball pitchers.
Three of them were selected by major league organizations in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft on the final day of the Winter Meetings in San Diego Thursday.
The New York Mets were first up, using the 15th selection to take Adam Oller, who had come out of Windy City in the Frontier League and was on the Class AA roster of the San Francisco Giants (Richmond). St. Louis chose next, and the Cardinals drafted Jordan Brink off Milwaukee's Double-A roster in Biloxi. He has played for both Southern Illinois and River City in the Frontier League in addition to Pittsburg of the Pacific Association. Both players were obtained from Indy play in '19.
The Pacific Association also had been home for Deivy Mendez, who now belongs to Oakland after being in the San Diego farm system. Mendez had played at Napa.
Pecos League Also Gains Attention
While the American Association, Atlantic League and the newly combined Frontier and Can-Am Leagues usually draw more attention from the major leagues, it was the Pecos League that had the only new face added to a major league roster when they were being set this fall. Catcher Yermin Mercedes, who played at both Douglas and White Sands in the southwestern-based Pecos, is now on the 40-man roster of the Chicago White Sox.
Since pitcher Eric Yardley, whose professional career started in the Pecos League (Trinidad and Taos), recently signed a contract with Milwaukee as a free agent the league will have at least two players in major league spring training camps. Yardley got his first taste of the majors with San Diego late last season.
Meanwhile, the first non-roster invitation (we have seen) for a player with Independent experience so far this offseason belongs to outfielder Dillon Thomas, who got that honor when he signed a free agent contract with Oakland. He had played at Texas in the American Association and was in the Milwaukee farm system last season.
Japan has gained the services of two recent Indy players.
Tayler Scott, who received considerable attention last summer when he became the first South African native to pitch in the major leagues (Seattle, Baltimore), will get $525,000 plus a signing bonus of $175,000 according to NPBTracker.com to throw for the Hiroshima Carp. The right-hander pitched for Sioux City in the American Association three years ago.
While we do not know the terms, southpaw Sean Nolin, who had played with the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League and was a Seattle farmhand until becoming a free agent, has signed to play with the Seibu Lions.
Independent players who get an opportunity to play in either Japan or Korea typically get a very nice payday.
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Thursday, December 12, 2019
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.