December 6, 2019

In an Odd Way, This Former Manager Now More Valuable to Independent Leagues as a Scout

August 2, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The first time I met Chris Carminucci he was managing the Can-Am League’s travel team, the Grays, in 2005.  Travel teams are not expected to do well, but his energy and upbeat nature were infectious. The Grays actually won half of their games the first half of the season, and it seemed obvious Carminucci would find his way somewhere in professional baseball.

He went on to lead three other teams, including being Manager of the Year at Atlantic City, NJ in ’07, got his feet wet in ownership, and started his own sports consulting company.  He never strayed far from Independent Baseball.  But he has probably never been so valuable to the Indy game, if that can be a proper term for someone no longer on the field, than in the last seven months since he started scouting the Independent leagues for the Arizona Diamondbacks, one of the organizations most interested in searching through the non-affiliated teams for overlooked talent.

With encouragement from General ManagerKevin Towers, Director of Player Development Mike Bell and daily communication with longtime Indy enthusiast, Special Assistant to the GM Bill Bryk, Carminucci has already signed eight players who are playing throughout the farm system and, for the most part, thriving.

“With scouting, you have to be a little lucky,” he said, “but I’ve always felt there were players in the Independent leagues who were being overlooked.  I expect them (those he has signed) to do well.”

Carminucci’s successful signings have come from various leagues, with outfielder Dustin Martin hitting .329 in Class AA since coming out of the Atlantic League (Sugar Land, TX), pitcher-turned-outfielder David Peralta at .362 and nearly an RBI a game in Class A from the American Association (Wichita, KS), right-hander Mark Serrano a combined 5-0, 2.35 for Arizona’s top two farm clubs out of the American Association (Laredo, TX) and Brandon Sinnery 9-4 for two Class A clubs combined since leaving the same league (Lincoln, NE).

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Keep an Eye on Van Stratten and Eddy Rodriguez

Anyone who follows the Insider regularly knows how much this typist likes an unusual angle, especially for players with upside.  Enter centerfielder Nick Van Stratten, enjoying a terrific season at Sioux Falls, SD (American Association), and catcher Eddy Rodriguez, who spent the ’10 season in the same city after also playing in the league at El Paso, TX the previous summer.

Van Stratten is only in the American Association because he did not climb above Double-A in seven seasons in the Kansas City organization.  The 28-year-old obviously has not let that stop him because he leads the 13-team league in hits (100 in 69 games) and triples where he is only four short of the league record of 16, is second in runs (62), seventh in average (.346) and eighth in steals (20) for a team 10 games under .500.

“I’m hoping we get him picked up,” two-time Manager of the Year Steve Shirley told the hometown Argus Leader.  “He can play all over the outfield.  He can hit and he can run.  Just watch the guy play.”

I could tell much of Rodriguez’s story, especially since it was one year ago (August 2) when he was summoned from Class A—yes, three levels below the majors—and hit a 416-foot home run for San Diego on the fourth pitch he saw in his first major league at-bat in Cincinnati.

But Ken Rodriguez has a great read about the now 27-year-old backstop in SI.com that details Eddy Rodriguez’s dramatic fishing boat arrival in the United States from Cuba when he was only seven and his gift for storing information about opposing batters in his head which may help the onetime University of Miami product get promoted one more time from Triple-A Tucson.

The photographic memory has made an impression on Tucson Manager Pat Murphy, who only got the catcher from Double-A San Antonio, TX about a month ago.  “Eddy is a survivor,” Murphy praises.  As for six-foot receiver, “I’m 1.000 percent confident I’ll make it back (to the majors),” he told SI.com.

By BOB DUTTON The Kansas City Star

Updated: 2013-03-26T05:37:57Z

          (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.)

 

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