This used to be a much more enjoyable task, but the nature of the beast is this: In the “lower” independents, it’s been fairly brutal the past few years.
The Can-Am League is down to just five teams plus a travelling squad (and its official developmental league, the New York State League is on hiatus). The North American League — the merger of the former Northern League, United Baseball League and Golden Baseball League — is on the verge of collapse (though more likely, the United League will be reborn from its ashes).
As always, there’s talk of some new leagues, but as noted in this story about the Freedom Pro Baseball League, an upstart similar to the tiny Pecos League, indy ball has proven to be an especially hard sell in the Western U.S.
I’ll spare you the speculation as to why this is (the economy, growth in collegiate wood-bat leagues) and cut to the chase: There are fewer places for “our guys” to end up after they get released, with the Atlantic League tilting heavily towards 4A’s and the rest tilting towards the non-drafted free agents and guys released after one or two seasons of short-season ball.
Without further ado, here’s a list of the guys I was able to spot in my tour through the available rosters of the North American League, American Association, and the Can-Am League:
• Kyle Morrison, Newark Bears (Can-Am)
• Daryle Ward, Newark Bears (Can-Am)
• Matt Chico, New Jersey Jackals (Can-Am)
• Nick Serino, Worcester Tornadoes (Can-Am)
• Alex Caldera, Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks (Am. Assoc.)
• Mitchell Clegg, Sioux Falls Pheasants (Am. Assoc.)
• Trevor Lawhorn, Sioux Falls Pheasants (Am. Assoc.)
• Christian Guerrero, Sioux Falls Pheasants (Am. Assoc.)
• Ben Graham, Wichita Wingnuts (Am. Assoc.)
• Jack Spradlin, Amarillo Sox (Am. Assoc.)
• Marcel Prado, El Paso Diablos (Am. Assoc.)
• Osvaldo Rodriguez, El Paso Diablos (Am. Assoc.)
• Mark Herrera, Grand Prairie Air Hogs (Am. Assoc.)
• Russell Moldenhauer, Lake Erie Crushers (Frontier)
• Justino Cuevas, London (Ontario) Rippers (Frontier)
• Patrick Arnold, Gateway Grizzlies (Frontier)
• Chad Mozingo, Schaumburg Boomers (Frontier)
• Matt Rogelstad, Edmonton Capitals (No. Am.)
• Lou Santangelo, Edmonton Capitals (No. Am.)
I’m sure I’ve probably missed a few (last month proved as much), but bear in mind that without a searchable database at Pointstreak, it’s too time-consuming to do much more than an eyeball test. This concludes the series.