The All-Star Game performances of Max Scherzer (Fort Worth) and Brandon Kintzler (St. Paul and Winnipeg) gave the American Association some nice bragging rights, but Wilmer Font's showing in the Triple-A contest the night after the major league game should not be overlooked.
Font, who is toiling in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system at Oklahoma City, got the start for the Pacific Coast League, and the right-hander who came out of Ottawa in the Can-Am League, needed only four pitches to retire the International League stars in that first inning. Font has been leading the PCL in strikeouts.
Among other former Independent Players selected for All-Star Games were the following (*Indicates first pro game was in a non-affiliated league):
Southern League: Pitchers *Aaron Wilkerson (Grand Prairie, American Association; Florence, Frontier League; Fort Worth, United League), Mike Kickham (Kansas City, American Association) and Ariel Hernandez (Frontier Greys, Frontier) and outfielder Edgar Corcino (El Paso, American Association, and Rockford, Frontier). Note: Hernandez is now with the parent Cincinnati Reds.
South Atlantic League: DH *Boo Vazquez (Joliet and Lake Erie, Frontier).
Florida State League: Pitchers Jeff Singer (Camden, Atlantic League) and *Trevor Richards (Gateway, Frontier).
Somerset Has Sent 10 to MLB Affiliates
The old fedora needs a big tip to the Somerset Patriots, who have had 10 players signed off their Atlantic League roster already this season by major league organizations. The most recent departure was All-Star infielder Tyler Bortnick, who has joined Milwaukee's top farm club in Colorado Springs.
No Need for Confusion About Chris Smith
A couple of eyebrows may have been raised when Oakland called up right-hander Chris Smith recently because Toronto had promoted RHP Chris Smith to its major league roster a little earlier in the season. They are, indeed, two different pitchers.
Oakland's guy has played for Sugar Land in the Atlantic League and Wichita in the American Association while the Blue Jays' Chris Smith, now back at Buffalo, has worked for Lake Erie, Traverse City and Washington in the Frontier League as well as White Sands of the Pecos League.
There is not another description to fit 45-year-old Kevin Millar batting one time for the St. Paul Saints (American Association) for the first time since 2010 and belting a two-run homer. This was 24 years after he first appeared with the Saints on the way to the major leagues.
And how about the Quebec Capitales belting not one, not two, but three grand slams in one Can-Am League game.
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Monday, July 17, 2017
Former chief spokesman for Major League Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth. Six years as publicity director for the Kansas City Royals, and a background in newspaper, radio and television. Started Wirz & Associates, a sports PR and consulting firm, in 1985. Has written extensively on Independent Baseball since 2003.