Velasquez was one of three former Independent players whose name was called during the draft, all in the Triple-A portion.
He had only recently signed with Minnesota after an exceptional season with the Camden (NJ) RiverSharks of the Atlantic League. Pitching for onetime major league catcher Ron Karkovice, Velasquez struck out 82 Atlantic League hitters and allowed only 58 hits in 73.2 innings spread over 61 appearances. That netted a 6-2 record and a 1.95 earned run average.
Velasquez, who was in the Philadelphia farm system earlier in his career, was a starter for Rockland County (Pomona, NY) of the Can-Am League in 2011-12, compiling a combined 14-13 record before joining Camden for one start at the end of the '12 campaign.
Arizona, which has been stockpiling Independent players of late, drafted 6-foot-7 righty Michael Lee, who spent most of this season starting for Atlanta's Double-A farm club. The 27-year-old was 9-8 for Mississippi (Pearl, MS) and made one start for Triple-A Gwinnett. Lee was a strikeout machine during an Independent stint at Rockford, IL in '12, whiffing 59 Frontier League hitters and allowing 30 hits in 41 innings. He had a 3-1, 2.20 record.
Boston selected 24-year-old multi-position player Jonathan Roof as a shortstop from Philadelphia's Double-A Reading, PA roster. He was listed as being at Traverse City, MI of the Frontier League one year ago although I cannot find that he actually appeared in any games. Roof played at the Class A level in 2013.
No Independent players were selected in the major league phase of the draft.
TWINS' LATEST INDY HOPEFUL IS PLAYER OF THE YEAR C. J. ZIEGLER
With slugger Chris Colabello and pitchers Andrew Albers and Caleb Thielbar all breaking into their major league roster this past season, the Minnesota Twins are continuing to mine Independent players, including Jonathan Velasquez (see story above).
The latest signee, who could someday compete with Colabello for playing time since both are primarily first basemen, is American Association and Independent League Player of the Year C. J. Ziegler, who homered a league-record 30 times while leading Wichita, KS into the Association playoffs. Ziegler, primarily a first baseman, also led the American Association with his 100 runs batted in, which led Baseball America to name him the top player in the non-affiliated ranks. The 28-year-old hit .316 to cap a two-year run with the Wingnuts in which he hit 48 homers and drove in 161 runs in 165 games.
OWENS, FOX MAINTAIN LEAGUE LEADS IN MEXICO
Atlantic League standouts Jerry Owens (Lancaster, PA) and Jake Fox (Somerset, NJ) rank No. 1 in some of the most important offensive categories as the Mexican League season rolls along. Owens is tops in both batting average (.361) and hits (66) and Fox leads in RBI (42 in 51 games). His nine home runs are third best in the league.
Another recent Atlantic League star, Cory Aldridge (Somerset) has the second best average (.377), is fourth in home runs (12) and fifth in RBI (36) in Venezuela. Shortstop Tucker Nathans, who started in Independent play (Can-Am and Frontier Leagues) and now is in the Baltimore farm system, has the third best batting average (.333) in Australia, one spot ahead of Brandon Tripp (.329), who played for St. Paul, MN of the American Association last season.
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