Independent Baseball's contributions to the major leagues continue to impress as evidenced by a second consecutive season in 2022 of equaling the record number of the players who were in The Show during the season. Two recent stories give a head start for more of the same for next season.
Before getting into the newest stories, a review seems appropriate. IndyBaseballChatter.com recorded 58 players who either started their professional career in an Independent league or got a second chance after playing somewhere in the Indy universe and wore the uniform of one of the 30 major league teams in '22. That equaled the count in '21, which stomped on the previous high of 45 in both 2016 and 2017.
While most of those who were in the majors last season are still around, Oakland and Washington have inked players out of the limelight of late.
The biggest of the new old faces is right-hander Drew Rucinski who got a major league contract from the Athletics after four seasons in the Korean Baseball Organization. Rucinski, who had a full year in the Frontier League (Rockford, IL) a decade earlier (2012), was so stout in the KBO that Oakland seems likely to give the soon-to-be 34-year-old (December 30) some opportunity to be in its starting rotation when the '23 campaign starts.
Rucinski went 53-36 in Korea with a 3.06 ERA in 121 starts and struck out 194 batters in 193.2 innings last season. He has worked in 41 major league games in his career (4-4, 5.33), the most recent with Miami in 2018.
Washington is bringing back another 34-year-old, first baseman-designated hitter Matt Adams, as a non-roster invitee. Adams pounded 27 home runs and drove in 85 runs in only 80 games for the Kansas City Monarchs of the American Association last season. The lefty hitter, who started his major league career with St. Louis in 2012, was a key bench player for the Nationals in their '19 World Series championship season when he hit 20 homers in only 333 plate appearances. He has had only brief major league opportunities since with Atlanta and Colorado.
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