Travel anywhere that baseball is played at a high level, and the Independent leagues will be represented.
This includes the resumption of the sport in the Japan Olympics starting this week. Our list most likely is incomplete, yet 11 Indy vets, some from this season, have been identified on Olympic rosters. Israel and the Dominican Republic have the heaviest representation. The United States and Mexico also have former Independent players. Japan and Korean rosters have not been reviewed.
Israel has three infielders and an outfielder who played in non-affiliated leagues this season. The outfielder is Blake Gailen, who started his extensive minor league career at Anderson in the South Coast League in 2007. He was in 47 games for Lancaster of the Atlantic League this season (.273-9-47) before joining his Olympic teammates. Gailen hit a robust .406 in 69 American Association games (Lincoln) in 2011 after also being at Chico of the former Golden League the two previous years. He is well known in Lancaster, also playing there at least part of every season from '12-'18.
Israel's infielders include Mitch Glasser of Sioux Falls, who hit .345 while playing five different positions in 39 games in the American Association this campaign; Zach Penprase (.254-1-15, 14 stolen bases in 21 contests for New York of the Frontier League and major league veteran Danny Valencia, who went 3-for-18 in six games for Long Island of the Atlantic League. Glasser's other Indy stops have included Joplin '15-'16, Cleburne '17, Gary '18, Sioux Falls '18-'19 all in the American Association and Joliet of the City of Champions Cup one year ago. Penprase was a fixture at Fargo-Moorhead of the American Association for eight years ('08-'15). Israel's Jeremy Bleich pitched in the Atlantic League (Somerset) in both '16 and '17.
The Dominican team includes catcher Charlie Valerio, who hit .263 in 11 games at Sioux Falls this season. A career minor leaguer, Valerio also played at Fargo-Moorhead from '15-'18 and at Southern Maryland of the Atlantic League two years ago. Infielder-outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, a longtime major leaguer, hit .348 in 70 games at Long Island in '18. Southpaw Raul Valdes, now 43, won nine of 13 decisions combined between Nashua and New Jersey of the Can-Am League back in 2006.
Mexico is represented by outfielder Jonathan Jones, who played in the American Association (Gary) in 2015 and the Atlantic League (New Britain) one year later.
The United States players with Independent time are veteran major league pitchers Scott Kazmir and David Robertson. Kazmir, who was in three games with San Francisco this year, was at Sugar Land (Atlantic League) in '12 and spent some time with Eastern of the Constellation Energy League last season.
Newest Major Leaguers
Lefty Zac Rosscup, who was with the Lighning of the CEL for a time last season, is the newest name among Indy players to don a major league uniform. He is with Colorado.
Outfielder Dillon Thomas (Texas, American Association) is enjoying a second stint of his rookie major league career with Seattle while hurlers Chris Mazza (Southern Maryland and San Rafael, Pacific Association) and Robert Stock (New Jersey, Can-Am, and Normal, Frontier League) are back up with Tampa Bay and the New York Mets, respectively.