BEVY OF INDEPENDENT PLAYERS IN WINTER BASEBALL
While the winter league season still is young, two hitters who had strong regular seasons are off to flying starts. San Francisco hopeful Mark Minicozzi, a well-traveled Independent vet, is hitting .417 (15-for-36) after 10 games in Venezuela. The versatile Minicozzi has two homers and has driven in eight runs. His Independent time was in the American Association (Kansas City, KS and Winnipeg), Can-Am League (Worcester, MA) and Atlantic League (Camden, NJ).
Third baseman Andy Marte, who was with the parent Arizona Diamondbacks for a very brief time this summer, has started fast in the Dominican Republic by going 5-for-11 with a homer and seven RBI in only three games. Now a free agent, Marte spent his Indy time at York.
Among pitchers, Chris Smith (Sugar Land, TX, Atlantic, and Wichita, KS, American Association) has worked 12 innings in two starts in Venezuela without allowing an earned run. He is in the San Diego minor league system.
CATCHING UP WITH ARIZONA FALL LEAGUERS
The only two former Independent players we have identified as playing in the Arizona Fall League are struggling so far. Frontier League grads Brandon Cunniff (Southern Illinois)and Alex Smith (River City) have 4.76 and 11.81 earned run averages, respectively. Both have worked five plus innings in multiple appearances. Cunniff is in the Atlanta farm system while Smith is with the New York Yankees.
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