May 21, 2019

106 Major League Victories This Season; You Bet, and That Is Just for Independent Leaguers

September 12, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Twenty-one years ago when Kash Beauchamp was signed off the St. Paul (MN) Saints’ roster in the Northern League and assigned to Class AA the naysayers were continuing to pooh-pooh the future of this new thing called Independent Baseball.  Those who believed it could succeed likely were in the minority.

We have pointed out the growth in acceptance of the player talent in these non-major league-affiliated leagues in this space week after week, year after year, but what we are about to lay out might surprise even the most enthusiastic supporters of the Indy game back in 1993.

Yes, some of the 28 pitchers who have appeared in the Independent leagues and have been in the majors this season were merely staying sharp before the free agent draft or while agents negotiated contracts, but that does not explain the staggering fact hurlers whose resumes include the non-affiliated game have been credited with 106 major league victories this season, and there are another two and a half weeks to go.

Boston or Atlanta, the MLB clubs with the best winning percentages, could reach 100 wins.  Team Independent would easily overshadow either one, and not be for off the best winning percentage the major leagues can offer with its composite 106-72 (.596) record.

Detroit’s Max Scherzer, one of those perceived as a strong major league candidate from the day he left the University of Missouri and put on a uniform of the Fort Worth (TX) Cats of the American Association, is the unquestioned leader of Team Independent because of his 19-3 record, but no less than 22 pitchers have registered at least one major league victory this season.

One of two eight-game winners is lefty Scott Kazmir, who used a season in the Atlantic League (Sugar Land, TX) just last season to get his major league career back on track where he is starting regularly for the surprise contenders in Cleveland.  And, no less than 18 of the 106 victories belong to pitchers who broke into the majors this season, including unbeaten Tanner Roark (6-0), who won his second consecutive start for Washington today (Thursday), 14-year minor leaguer Scott Rice (four wins) with the New York Mets and Caleb Thielbar (three victories) and a superb season in the Minnesota bullpen.  Roark is among former Indy hurlers who started his pro career at that level (Southern Illinois, Frontier League) while Rice worked for three Atlantic League teams (York, PA, Long Island, NY, Newark, NJ).

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Quebec’s Title Run at Five, With Scalabrini 20-6 in Postseason

We were just talking about .600 winning percentages representing a solid showing in baseball, but what about Pat Scalabrini’s .769 record with the Quebec Capitales?  And that is in the Can-Am League’s postseason.  The Capitales have reeled off 20 wins in 26 games the last four seasons in winning the championship in each of those years.

It was not exactly a walk-in-the-park this time, however, with the New Jersey Jackals (Little Falls), who frequently had to come from behind, pushing Scalabrini’s troops to a seventh and deciding game and leading that one 5-1 after three and a half innings before succumbing, 12-7, in Quebec.  It marked the first time the championship series had gone the full length since ’06, ironically, when the Capitales claimed their first of what now stands as six Can-Am titles.  They have won five years in a row, with that streak starting when current club President Michel Laplante still was field boss.

For This Indy Grad, Two No-Hitters This Season

So much for how it feels while warming up to start a game.  “My pregame bullpen warm-up, it was pretty brutal,” Kyle Schepel of the Hillsboro (OR) Hops told MiLB.com.  “I really couldn’t find the zone or anything.”

A few hours later, the right-hander the Arizona Diamondbacks signed after he had broken into professional baseball in the Frontier League (Rockford, IL) last season, had his second no-hitter of this campaign.  He had a seven-inning no-no for South Bend, IN earlier this season, but this was the first nine-inning, complete-game no-hitter in the Northwest League in 23 years.”

“He has shown plus stuff at times” and has been rewarded with an invitation to the instructional league this fall, according to Bill Bryk, D-Backs’ special assistant to the general manager.

           (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 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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