With Scherzer Leading the Way, Independent Hurlers Already Have Topped 2012 Major League Win Total With Lofty 69
One statistic regarding the pre-All-Star Game portion of the major league season may blow a few minds, including those in high powered front offices.
To set the stage, I went back to last October when in this space I wrote that 17 pitchers with Independent Baseball experience combined for 67 regular-season wins, even without the 20 that onetime Atlantic League trainee Jered Weaver (Camden, NJ) posted for the Los Angeles Angels.
When the Race to October resumes for the 30 major league teams on Friday the Independent hurlers will be out to improve on their count that already totals 69 victories in 2013.
It is true that American League All-Star starter Max Scherzer, who was with the Fort Worth (TX) Cats (American Association) when his professional career started in ’07, has 13 of the wins. But 17 other hurlers who have pulled on Independent uniforms have contributed to the victory total, with 12 of them collecting a “W” at least three times.
Kansas City reliever Aaron Crow, who also started in Fort Worth, ranks second with six wins followed by All-Star Steve Delabar of Toronto (Brockton, MA, Can-Am League and Florence, KY, Frontier League), All-Star voting finalist Tanner Scheppers of Texas (St. Paul, MN, American Association), rejuvenated Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir (Sugar Land, TX, Atlantic) and the Angels’ Jerome Williams (Lancaster, PA, Atlantic and Long Beach, CA (Golden League) with five apiece.
Majors Purchase 53 Players Since Spring Training
The pipeline of Independent Baseball players getting new opportunities in major league organizations also continues to fill up. We can identify 53 players whose contracts have been purchased by MLB teams since spring training ended April 1. Still others have been sold to teams internationally.
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Colabello, Peterson, Pedroza Among All-Star Standouts
Starter Max Scherzer and Steve Delabar gave Independent Baseball great representation in the major league All-Star Game, especially since they nailed four outs (two strikeouts) for the winning American League team, but three Wednesday star tilts also deserve attention.
The Indy game produced one No. 3 hitter and a cleanup batsman plus two pitchers in the Triple-A game, and former Lancaster, PA (Atlantic League) shortstop Jaime Pedroza, now in the Atlanta farm system, was one of the standouts in the Southern League contest.
Chris Colabello (Worcester, MA and Nashua, NH, Can-Am League) had a double in three at-bats and an RBI ground out in the three hole while playing first base for the victorious International League in the AAA game that showcased those players closest to the major leagues. Also playing first base, Brock Peterson (Bridgeport, CT, Atlantic) was 1-for-2 with a RBI for the Pacific Coast League. Peterson, now in the St. Louis system with proud numbers of .306-22-66 (plus 23 doubles) for Memphis, TN, also narrowly missed being the Triple-A home run derby champion.
Lefties Kris Johnson and Andrew Albers, either of whom could get a major league call before the season is out, each pitched an inning for the winning team. Johnson (Kansas City, KS, American Association), a Pittsburgh prospect, gave up one hit in his scoreless frame while Albers (Quebec, Can-Am), who is in the Minnesota system, was touched for two hits and a run.
Pedroza played the entire game at shortstop in the South’s 6-0 win in the Double-A game at Jacksonville, FL, getting singles in his only two official at bats while also walking twice, driving in a run and stealing a base.
Outfielder Sean Mahley of Schaumburg, IL, who had a two-run triple to lead the West to a 4-2 victory, was named Most Valuable Player in the Frontier League classic at Washington, PA.
(This is an excerpt from the column Bob Wirz writes year round on Independent Baseball. Forty columns are planned during 2013. Fans may subscribe at newly-reduced rates at www.WirzandAssociates.com, enjoy added stories on the blog www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, or comment to RWirz@aol.com. The author has 16 years of major league baseball public relations experience with Kansas City and as spokesman for two Commissioners and lives in Stratford, CT.)