Two players with a single game of major league experience are among the 16 onetime Independent Baseball graduates who have opened the regular season with big-league jobs, the annual review by IndyBaseballChatter.com has revealed. Another four are on the injured list.
First baseman John Nogowski, who played at Sioux City in the American Association in 2017, hit a robust .333 (11-for-33) with a .477 on-base percentage this spring to land a bench job with St. Louis. Yermin Mercedes is one of the trio of catchers on the Chicago White Sox 26-man active list after he hit .277 (13-for-51) in spring training. Mercedes spent all of 2014 in the Pecos (Douglas and White Sands) and United (San Angelo) Leagues for a renewed start on his pro career after three seasons in the Dominican Summer League under the Washington Nationals banner.
Nogowski went 1-for-4 in his only game with the Cardinals last season while Mercedes got a single at bat (0-for-1) in his initial major league contest.
Thirteen of the 16 major leaguers are pitchers, and the American Association dominates with 10 players out of its circuit, eight more than from any other league.
Pitchers (13)--Ross Detwiler, Miami (York, Atlantic League); *Randy Dobnak, Minnesota (Utica, United Shore League); Junior Guerra, Los Angeles-AL (Wichita, American Association); Rich Hill, Tampa Bay (Long Island, Atlantic); Brandon Kintzler, Philadelphia (St. Paul, American Association, and Winnipeg, when in the Northern League); *Chris Martin, Atlanta (Grand Prairie, American Association); Tyler Matzek, Atlanta (Texas, American Association); *James Paxton, Seattle (Grand Prairie); *Tanner Roark, Toronto (Southern Illinois, Frontier League); Chaz Roe, Tampa Bay (Laredo, American Association); *Max Scherzer, Washington (Fort Worth, American Association); Caleb Thielbar, Minnesota (St. Paul); *Eric Yardley, Milwaukee (Trinidad and Taos, Pecos League).
Position Players (3)--C Yermin Mercedes, Chicago-AL (Douglas and White Sands, Pecos, and San Angelo, United League); 1B John Nogowski, St. Louis (Sioux City, American Association); OF David Peralta, Arizona (Amarillo and Wichita, American Association, and Rio Grande Valley, North American League).
Injured List (4)--RHP*Nick Anderson, Tampa Bay (Rockford and Frontier Greys, Frontier); RHP John Brebbia, San Francisco (Sioux Falls and Laredo, American Association); OF Jose Martinez, New York-NL (Rockford, Frontier); RHP Justin Topa, Milwaukee (Rockland, Can-Am League).
*Started career in an Independent league