By Bob Wirz
Another recent American Association pitcher must feel like he has struck oil, this time in Japan.
Tayler Scott, who received considerable attention last summer when he became the first South African native to pitch in the major leagues, has signed to play with the Hiroshima Carp, and NPBTracker.com, which helped announce the deal, says the 27-year-old will receive $525,000 in addition to a signing bonus of $175,000 and is expected to work in middle relief.
Since Scott became a free agent last month after finishing ’19 with pitching-hungry Baltimore, it was far from a given this 2016 Sioux City reliever would spend next season in a major league bullpen. The right-hander got into five games with Seattle earlier last season (9.39 ERA), then allowed 18 earned runs in 8.2 innings with the parent Orioles after a brilliant showing (0.56 with 21 strikeouts and only three walks in 16 innings) with their top farm club in Norfolk.
After five seasons in the Chicago Cubs farm system (Double-A tops), Scott jump-started his career with five weeks with the Explorers early in ’16 (1-0, 1.88 and 32 strikeouts in 28.2 innings) before Milwaukee signed him. Time with Texas also followed before he debuted his sinker and slider in the majors last June.
A’s Sign Dillon Thomas, Invite Him to Major League Camp
Late in the 2018 season Dillon Thomas was still battering American Association pitching, and hoping he could climb higher on the baseball ladder than the mere two at-bats in Triple-A that he received in his seven seasons in the Colorado Rockies farm system.
The soon-to-be 27-year-old (December 10) got a second affiliated opportunity late that season with Milwaukee after hitting .333 with a .420 on-base percentage in 80 games for the Texas AirHogs and earning all-American Association honors although the Brewers chose to start him Class A.
Houston native Thomas has every reason now to continue thinking about reaching the major leagues because Oakland has given the lefty outfielder an early Christmas present by taking him off the free agent rolls and inviting him to their major league spring training camp in Mesa, AZ. He had career highs of 71 runs batted in and 22 stolen bases while hitting .265 in 131 games with Milwaukee’s Double-A Biloxi farm club last season.
The closest Thomas has been to major league camps to this point has been occasional one-day trips from minor league workouts with the Rockies and Brewers the last five years where he has a gone a collective 9-for-16 (.563) in 21 games.
Hoyt Back on Cleveland’s 40-Man Roster
Right-handed reliever James Hoyt, who spent his first two professional seasons in Independent leagues including 11 appearances in Wichita in 2012 (2-0, one save, 2.61), has had difficulty staying in the major leagues, but Cleveland obviously continues to like his work.
Two days after non-tendering the 33-year-old, the Tribe signed him to a new deal which put him back on their 40-man roster. The former Houston hurler struck out 10 in 8.1 innings for the parent Indians last September after he had struck out 48 International League hitters in 42 innings at Columbus. He has appeared in 74 major league games, going 2-1 with a 4.16 ERA and104 strikeouts in 80 innings.
Another former Wichita righty, Junior Guerra (2011, 2013), joined the free agent ranks recently after posting a 3.55 ERA in 83.2 innings as part of Milwaukee’s bullpen.
Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site, has a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, and a book about his life, “The Passion of Baseball”, is available at Amazon.com or at www.WirzandAssociates.com.