Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Majors Picking Up Indy Players At Torrid Pace

While the track record over the past two decades shows it is going to happen, the pace of Independent Baseball players having their contracts purchased by major league organizations has been at a torrid pace this season.

Records maintained by the Independent Baseball Insider, believed to be the most complete anywhere, have recorded 42 such transactions since the end of major league spring training with 25 of them in the second half of June, probably in part to help fill out rosters after the free agent draft.

Two impressive facets of these signings are that 10 of the players started their professional career in an Indy league and some of them have come from the newer non-affiliated circuits, including the Pacific Association and the first-year United Shore League.

In no particular order, the native Independent players who have had their contracts picked up for a price by MLB organizations include RHP (and former infielder) Max Duval to Arizona, SS Josh Gardiner and RHP Tim Holmes to the New York Yankees, INF Christian Ibarra to Minnesota, RHP Trey Lambert to Washington, RHP Santos Saldivar to Milwaukee, INF Josh Silver to the Chicago Cubs, RHP Matt Solter to San Francisco, OF Boo Vazquez to Kansas City and LHP Ross Vance to St. Louis.

Vance came out of the three-team United Shore League which started its initial season on May 30.

In addition to the 42 players sold to major league organizations, numerous others have gone to leagues in Mexico, Taiwan and Japan.


Some of the recent signees, largely from the Atlantic League, went straight to Triple-A teams.  One player recently promoted to the top minor league level is infielder-outfielder Ryan Court, who was taken from Sioux City in the American Association.  Boston promoted him from Double-A Portland, ME to its top affiliate in Pawtucket, RI.

Court, 28, hit .331 with Sioux City's potent team last season, and followed that up by hitting .319 in 40 games for Portland.  He is at .300 (9-for-30) after eight appearances for Pawtucket.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Along with Ziegler, York and Guerra Earn High Marks

Brad Ziegler's numbers are getting insane with a 0.61 ERA in save situations this season and 43 consecutive saves overall, but I also tip my hat very high among the new products out of the Independent leagues; Washington's Tanner Roark (Southern Illinois Miners, Frontier League) and Junior Guerra (Wichita Wingnuts, American Association) of Milwaukee.

Ziegler (Schaumburg, then in the Northern League) has been around for a while, in fact long enough that the Arizona side-armer's 564 career appearances are the most in the majors since 2008.

The Washington Post credits Roark's improved command of his two-seam fastball as the biggest reason the right-hander now owns one of the lowest earned run averages (3.14) on the potent Nationals' starting rotation and is now striking out nearly 8.1 hitters every nine innings.  He has a 6-4 record for 14 starts this season.

Guerra, the onetime catcher who really started getting pitching notice when he went 18-7 while working for Wichita in 2011 and 2013, had only three major league appearances--a non-descript four innings in relief for the Chicago White Sox last season--until the Brewers called him up from Triple-A Colorado Springs the first week of May.

The 31-year-old seems to have become a steady starter for Milwaukee with a 3-1 record and a 3.81 ERA for nine outings.  He has allowed only 46 hits in 54.1 innings and has 45 punchouts.

"He's certainly done his job," manager Craig Counsell told FoxSports.com.  "He's (gotten better as the game goes on) in a bunch of his starts.  He's getting to 90-100 pitches and still going strong, still going really good."

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