Fans of Independent Baseball are virtually guaranteed of an exciting lead-up to the major league season as well as to the Indy openers in April and May because another strong contingent of players who have spent time developing their talent in the non-affiliated leagues are wearing uniforms representing one of the 30 American and National League teams in spring training.
Records maintained exclusively by IndyBaseballChatter.com show exactly 50 onetime Independent players are official invitees to the camps spread throughout Arizona and Florida, with many of them totally dependent on the Indy leagues in order to get any momentum toward a big-league career and some using this route to rehab from an injury or develop new skills so they can re-energize their professional life. The 50-man contingent is evenly divided between 40-man roster players and non-roster invitees.
The Independent league graduates could take the field any given day as a unit since all positions are represented although, as usual, the top-heavy number–38 of the 50–are pitchers.
The complete roster, by position, with the major league team and the Independent affiliations in parenthesis. An asterisk indicates the player started his professional career in an Indy league while an “n” in front of the player indicates he is in spring training as a non-roster player competing to make a 25-man opening day roster.
Pitchers (38)–nTim Adleman, Cincinnati (New Jersey, Can-Am League, and El Paso and Lincoln, American Association); nDylan Axelrod, Miami (Windy City, Frontier League); nBuddy Boshers, Minnesota (Somerset, Atlantic League); nCraig Breslow, Miami (New Jersey, Northeast League); n*Greg Burke, Philadelphia (Atlantic City, Atlantic); nAngel Castro, Oakland (Lincoln); nHunter Cervenka, Atlanta (Sugar Land, Atlantic); n*Aaron Crow, Chicago-NL (Fort Worth, American Association); Steve Delabar, Toronto (Brockton, Can-Am, and Florence, Frontier); Jon Edwards, San Diego (San Angelo, North American League, and Alpine, Pecos League); Luis Garcia, Philadelphia (Newark, Can-Am); nJarrett Grube, Cleveland (Southern Maryland, Atlantic); Junior Guerra, Milwaukee (Wichita, American Association); Rich Hill, Oakland (Long Island, Atlantic); *Luke Hochevar, Kansas City (Fort Worth); John Holdzkom, Pittsburgh (Amarillo and Sioux City, American Association, and San Angelo, United League); n*James Hoyt, Houston (Wichita and Edinburg and Yuma, North American); Scott Kazmir, Los Angeles-NL (Sugar Land); nLogan Kensing, Detroit (Bridgeport, Atlantic); nBrandon Kintzler, Minnesota (St. Paul, American Association, and Winnipeg, Northern League); Vidal Nuno, Seattle (Washington, Frontier); *James Paxton, Seattle (Grand Prairie, American Association); nScott Rice, Arizona (York, Long Island, and Newark, Atlantic); *Tanner Roark, Washington (Southern Illinois, Frontier); Chaz Roe, Baltimore (Laredo, American Association); nDrew Rucinski, Chicago-NL (Rockford, Frontier); nDan Runzler, Minnesota (Sugar Land); *Tanner Scheppers, Texas (St. Paul); *Max Scherzer, Washington (Fort Worth); Bo Schultz, Toronto (Sioux Falls and Grand Prairie, American Association); nJoe Thatcher, Cleveland (River City, Frontier); *Ian Thomas, Los Angeles-NL (York and Winnipeg, Northern and American Association); nChien-Ming Wang, Kansas City (Southern Maryland); nChris Smith, Oakland (Sugar Land and Wichita); Josh Smoker, New York-NL (Rockford); nTim Stauffer, Arizona (Sugar Land); Tom Wilhelmsen, Texas (Tucson, Golden League); Brad Ziegler, Arizona (Schaumburg, Northern).
Catchers (2) – Rene Rivera, Tampa Bay (Camden, Atlantic); nEddy Rodriguez, New York-AL (Sioux Falls and El Paso, American Association).
Infielders (4) –nSS-2B Robert Andino, Miami (Somerset); *1B-OF Chris Colabello, Toronto (Worcester and Nashua, Can-Am), *2B-SS Stephen Drew, Washington (Camden); n1B-3B Balbino Fuenmayor, Kansas City (Quebec, Can-Am; Laredo, American Association; Frontier Greys, Frontier).
Outfielders (6) —nJoe Benson, Minnesota (Sugar Land); Jose Martinez, Kansas City (Rockford); *Daniel Nava, Los Angeles-AL (Chico, Golden); David Peralta, Arizona (Amarillo and Wichita and Rio Grande Valley, North American); nAntoan Richardson, Pittsburgh (Schaumburg); nOF-1B Reynaldo Rodriguez, Minnesota (Yuma, Golden).
Scheppers, Pat Misch Already Scratched
The list of former Independent players slated for major league camps lost one hopeful as spring training was opening because southpaw Pat Misch, a former major leaguer who divided last season between the Miami farm system and Taiwan with a two-game pit stop at Lancaster, PA of the Atlantic League (1-0, 1.80), was granted a release from his agreement with Milwaukee in order to pitcher for the Orix Buffaloes in Japan.
While Texas reliever Tanner Scheppers is considered one of the 50 Indy players in major league camps, the veteran, who started his pro career with the St. Paul (MN) Saints of the American Association, has been ruled out until as least the All-Star Break because of a new knee injury. He is returning to the Metroplex area for surgery.
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