Friday, February 15, 2019


          The contributions of Independent leagues to major league organizations is never more evident than the annual compilation by of the players who have had experience in these leagues and are in major league spring training camps

That total is 49 as of today although it still could grow.

Twenty-three of the players are on 40-man major league rosters while the other 26 are non-roster invitees.  Both totals are down slightly from one year ago when 26 players were on rosters and 32 players received special invitations.

Pitchers continue to dominate, with 39 hurlers in the 30 camps compared to 10 position players.

Nine players received their initial professional experience in an Indy league although many of the others would not be wearing major league uniforms without the experience gained outside of the 30 big-league organizations, often taking advantage of a second-chance opportunity after being drafted but failing to advance with their original team.  Approximately another 165 former Independent players are currently in major league farm systems.

Those in major league camps with their current organization followed by their stop(s) in Independent leagues:  

          Pitchers (39)--NR-Tyler Alexander, Oakland (Fargo-Moorhead, American Association, and Sussex, Can-Am League); *Nick Anderson, Miami (Frontier Greys and Rockford, Frontier League); NR*Ryan Atkinson, Arizona (Evansville, Frontier); NR-Jeremy Bleich, Philadelphia (Somerset, Atlantic League); NR-Ryan Bollinger, San Diego (Windy City, Frontier; Trois-Rivieres, Can-Am; St. Paul and Winnipeg, American Association); NR-Buddy Boshers, Cincinnati (Somerset); John Brebbia, St. Louis (Sioux Falls and Laredo, American Association); NR-Hunter Cervenka, St. Louis (Sugar Land, Atlantic); NR-Tim Dillard, Texas (Lancaster, Atlantic); Jon Edwards, Cleveland (Alpine, Pecos League, and San Angelo, North American League); Wilmer Font, Tampa Bay (Ottawa, Can-Am); Luis Garcia, Los Angeles-AL (Newark, Can-Am); Junior Guerra, Milwaukee (Wichita, American Association); NR-Ariel Hernandez, Texas (Frontier Greys); NR-Tyler Higgins, San Diego (New Britain, Atlantic); Rich Hill, Los Angeles-NL (Long Island, Atlantic); NR*James Hoyt, Cleveland (Wichita; Edinburg and Yuma, North American League); D. J. Johnson, Colorado (Traverse City, Frontier); NR-Mike Kickham, Miami (Kansas City, American Association); Brandon Kintzler, Chicago-NL (St. Paul and Winnipeg, then Northern League); *Chris Martin, Texas (Grand Prairie, American Association); NR-Brian Moran, Miami (Bridgeport, Atlantic); NR-Vidal Nuno, Washington (Washington, Frontier);  NR-Edward Paredes, Philadelphia (York, Atlantic); *James Paxton, New York-AL (Grand Prairie); NR-Alex Powers, Cincinnati (New Jersey, Can-Am); *Trevor Richards, Miami (Gateway, Frontier); *Tanner Roark, Cincinnati (Southern Illinois, Frontier); Chaz Roe, Tampa Bay (Laredo); *Max Scherzer, Washington (Fort Worth, American Association); NR-Bo Schultz, Baltimore (Grand Prairie); Robby Scott, Arizona (Yuma, North American); NR-Tayler Scott, Seattle (Sioux City, American Association); NR*Chris Smith, Detroit (Lake Erie, Traverse City and Washington, Frontier; White Sands, Pecos League); NR-Josh Smoker, Los Angeles-NL (Rockford); Robert Stock, San Diego (New Jersey); Marcus Walden, Boston (Lancaster); *Aaron Wilkerson, Milwaukee (Grand Prairie; Florence, Frontier; and Fort Worth, United League); NR-Eric Yardley, San Diego (Trinidad and Taos, Pecos).

            Catchers (3)--Rafael Lopez, Atlanta (Bridgeport); NR-Rene Rivera, San Francisco (Camden, Atlantic); NR-Josh Thole, Los Angeles-NL (New Britain).

            Infielders (5)--NR-Emilio Bonifacio, Tampa Bay (Long Island); NR-Ryan Court, Chicago-NL (Sioux City); NR-Peter Mooney, Colorado (New Jersey); NR-Brandon Snyder, Washington (Southern Maryland, Atlantic); Ildemaro Vargas, Arizona (Bridgeport).

            Outfielders (2)--Jose Martinez, St. Louis (Rockford); 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.

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

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Where Are All The Position Players? Pitchers Dominate Non-Roster Invitations

A few major league teams have yet to announce their invitees for spring training, but pitchers continue to dominate when we look at all of the former Independent Baseball players who will be reporting to camps throughout Florida and Arizona on non-roster invitations this month.  In fact, hurlers dominate even more than in the past.

Nine of the 32 Indy non-roster invitees one year ago were position players.  Only one player is in this category today among the 18 hopefuls has tracked who have been tabbed so far by one of the 30 major league teams.

Emilio Bonifacio, hardly the typical Independent player in that he has played in 831 major league games in a career that started back in 2003, is the lone position player.  The 33-year-old is headed for the Tampa Bay camp after spending much of last season playing shortstop and center field for the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League where he hit .348 with 20 stolen bases in 70 games.

Bonifacio last appeared in the majors two years ago with Atlanta.

The 17 hurlers with non-roster invitations, including their major league team and the team(s) and league (s) where they got their Independent experience:

*Ryan Atkinson, Arizona (Evansville, Frontier League); Jeremy Bleich, Philadelphia (Somerset, Atlantic League); Ryan Bollinger, San Diego (Windy City, Frontier; Trois-Rivieres, Can-Am League; St. Paul and Winnipeg, American Association); Hunter Cervenka, St. Louis (Sugar Land, Atlantic); Tim Dillard, Texas (Lancaster, Atlantic); Ariel Hernandez, Texas (Frontier Greys, Frontier); Tyler Higgins, San Diego (New Britain, Atlantic); *James Hoyt, Cleveland (Wichita, American Association; Edinburg and Yuma, North American League); Mike Kickham, Miami (Kansas City, American Association); Brian Moran, Miami (Bridgeport, Atlantic); Vidal Nuno, Washington (Washington, Frontier);  Edward Paredes, Philadelphia (York, Atlantic); Alex Powers, Cincinnati (New Jersey, Can-Am); Bo Schultz, Baltimore (Grand Prairie, American Association); Tayler Scott, Seattle (Sioux City, American Association); *Chris Smith, Detroit (Lake Erie, Traverse City and Washington, Frontier; White Sands, Pecos League); Eric Yardley, San Diego (Trinidad and Taos, Pecos).

*First professional game was in an Independent league.

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

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Lefty Regnault Latest From Indy Ranks to Find Financial Rewards in Japan

With an abundance of good holiday cheer already served up for Independent Baseball, it is difficult to cite any one happening as the pinnacle although Kyle Regnault certainly stands tall.

Have not heard of Kyle?  The 6-foot-2 left-hander is typical of those who make the Indy game what it is in that he was not drafted when he came out of the University of Rhode Island, but made his mark during three seasons in the Can-Am League (Quebec and Worcester) before the New York Mets gave him an opportunity in their farm system.

He has pitched at every level in their minor league organization during the last four seasons with a 4.10 earned run average and well over a strikeout per inning in Triple-A.  The only major league looks have come during brief spring training stints, but now the Rhode Island native has become the latest Indy product to turn overseas for a lucrative opportunity.

News reports indicate Regnault, who turns 30 on December 13, is getting a $125,000 signing bonus, a $400,000 base salary and the opportunity to earn more in incentives for Japan's Hiroshima Carp.

Go to work, Kyle, and more of your Indy brothers likely will get nice deals.

Major League Coaching Jobs Abound

It seems like more and more people who have proven themselves in Independent leagues are getting new or better major league coaching opportunities even without significant success at that level as players.

This list may be incomplete, but over recent weeks Andy Haines has moved from being assistant hitting coach for the Chicago Cubs to hitting coach with Milwaukee, Anthony Iapoce has taken on top hitting coach duties for the Cubs after being in a similar role at Texas, J. R. House has been named third base and catching coach for Cincinnati, Stubby Clapp has joined St. Louis's coaching staff and Shawn Wooten has become assistant hitting coach for the Los Angeles Angels.

Iapoce and Haines never reached the majors as players while the others reached that level but were far from becoming household names.

Some of the Independent ties of the quintet date back a number of years.  Clapp and Iapoce were in the old Northern League, Haines in the Frontier League, Wooten in the defunct Prairie League and briefly in the American Association and House was in the Atlantic League.

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


The tedious nature of the National League races in the last five days of the regular season have several former Independent Baseball players on the edge of their seat whether they will be part of the postseason.

Be that as it may, two former Indy right-handers, one involved in the postseason scramble, seem to have really cemented their future for 2019 by virtue of this season's performances.

John Brebbia (Sioux Falls and Laredo in the American Association for two full seasons in 2014-15) has done so well in St. Louis's bullpen that some want him to be the Redbirds' closer in the future.  Robert Stock cannot fret over the postseason since his San Diego Padres are not involved, but this former Can-Am League hurler (New Jersey Jackals, 2016) surely is being counted on for next season.

Is he (Brebbia) even good was a question the blog Viva El Birdos asked itself?  "You better believe it. It’s been easy to miss this year, but between injuries and stints in (Triple-A) Memphis Brebbia has put up a tremendous season in the majors...Brebbia has struck out 25.9% of the batters he’s faced in his major league career (27.6% this year), comfortably above the major league average of around 22%. His 6.4% career walk rate complements the strikeouts quite well, and does a lot to account for his career 2.83 ERA.  It’s not smoke and mirrors, either. Brebbia’s arsenal consists of an excellent fastball and an excellent slider, both of which he uses roughly half the time.  He had posted a 1.72 ERA for his last 15 St. Louis outings entering play Wednesday.

Since being called up for his second major league stint July 20, Stock, The San Diego Tribune reported recently, "has thrown 28 innings over 18 appearances. He’s gone more than one inning in 10 of those appearances, including three innings twice and at least two innings five other times while consistently throwing in the high 90s. No other reliever in the majors averaging more than 96 mph on his fastball this season has thrown more than 23 innings since July 20.  Simply, no one does what Stock has done and continues to do. He loves it. 'I think it’s fun to try to be out there every single day.' He has a 2.61 ERA in his 31 total innings this season." Not bad coming from someone who was both a catcher and pitcher in college (at USC).


Outfielder-first baseman Jose Martinez at St. Louis (Rockford, Frontier League) and pitchers Junior Guerra of Milwaukee (Wichita, American Association), Rich Hill of the Los Angeles Dodgers (Long Island, Atlantic League) and Brandon Kintzler of the Chicago Cubs (St. Paul, American Association, and Winnipeg, when it was in the Northern League), appear to be locks for rosters if their teams make it to the postseason.

Four others have enjoyed the final weeks of the regular season with contenders with some chance of being on active rosters in the playoffs.  They are catcher Rene Rivera with Atlanta (Camden, Atlantic) and hurlers Jon Edwards with Cleveland (Alpine, Pecos League, and San Angelo, North American League), D. J. Johnson with Colorado (Traverse City, Frontier) and Robby Scott with Boston (Yuma, North American).

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

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Since 'The Passion of Baseball', the 350-page book of my life in this wonderful game, just received a very nice review via the Readers' Favorite Award Contest (see below) and the two-year anniversary of publication comes up in a few days, we are offering an autographed copy at a reduced price of $16 until Oct. 17. Orders are filled promptly at
Review #1: By Christian Sia of 'The Passion of Baseball' by Bob Wirz

Review Rating:
5 Stars - Congratulations on your 5-star review

Reviewed By Christian Sia for Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews and Award Contest
The Passion of Baseball: A Journey to the Commissioner's Office of Major League Baseball by Bob Wirz is the story of the Kansas City Royals' first publicist, a man who spent more than a decade as spokesperson for commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Born in a small town in Nebraska, Bob Wirz dreamed of getting involved in major league baseball, and what follows is a breathtaking journey that will have readers mesmerized and utterly delighted. This is a tale of a dream come true, a journey from humble beginnings to great success. We encounter a young man passionate about baseball who eventually gets into the World Series, All-Star Game, and, surprisingly, the Hall of Fame. His success reaches its peak when he starts his own sports public relations and marketing firm, with major clients like the Rolaids Relief Man, Major League Baseball, and IBM. Follow Bob Wirz from his early days in Halsey, Nebraska, to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Denver, Kansas City and to the glitz of New York City.

Bob Wirz's story is one that will warm the hearts of baseball aficionados and sports fans in general. The author's gift for prose is exceptional and it comes out in his ability to capture key moments in the story, infusing them with the kind of emotion that readers can easily relate to. The writing is focused and it features vivid images that have stories of their own. I enjoyed the way Bob Wirz's passion for baseball comes out through the narrative and it is inspiring to encounter someone who lived their dream. Readers will find both inspiration and entertainment here. The Passion of Baseball: A Journey to the Commissioner's Office of Major League Baseball is one of those stories that encourage readers to pursue their dreams. It showcases the liberating power of daring to go after our heart's desires. Written in a compelling voice and infused with humor, The Passion of Baseball is filled with life lessons on success.

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