By Bob Wirz
While the modern day American Association has distinguished itself in so many ways, one of the most impressive is that it produced one or more eventual major leaguer in every one of its first 10 seasons. That covers 2006 to 2015.
There is every indication the streak will continue. Parker Markel allowed the league to check off last season when he was promoted to the Seattle Mariners. That only leaves ’16 and ’17 to make the streak continuous since league inception, and it seems only a matter of time to cover those seasons with the likes of David Holman and Mike Kickham of the Kansas City T-Bones and Connor Overton and Tayler Scott of Sioux City representing 2016 and Jason Creasy (St. Paul) and John Nogowski and Kevin McCanna of the Explorers out of the class of two years ago.
Thirty players in all have made the jump already from the American Association to the major leagues with exactly one third of them playing their very first professional games in the league or another Independent circuit. The others have gained additional experience in the league before getting to (in some cases, back to) the majors.
The year-by-year list with the most recent American Association year listed for those who played in the AA more than one season. (While no one is listed for 2008, Aaron Crow from the ’09 group also was in the league in ’08.)
|Last AA Year||Player||MLB Team(s)||Amn. Assn. Team(s)||Pos.|
|2006||*Hochever, Luke||Kansas City||Fort Worth||RHP|
|2007||*Jakubauskas,Chris||Seattle, Pittsburgh, Baltimore||Lincoln||RHP|
|*Scherzer, Max||Arizona, Detroit, Washington||Fort Worth||RHP|
|2009||DeLaRosa, Dane||Tampa Bay, Los Angeles-AL||El Paso||RHP|
|*Crow, Aaron||Kansas City, Miami||Fort Worth||RHP|
|Kintzler, Brandon||Milwaukee, Minnesota, Washington, Chicago-NL||@St. Paul||RHP|
|*Martin, Chris||Colorado, New York-AL, Texas||Grand Prairie||RHP|
|Rodriguez, Eddy||San Diego||Sioux Falls, El Paso||C|
|*Paxton, James||Seattle, New York-AL||Grand Prairie||LHP|
|2011||#DePaula, Julio||Baltimore||St. Paul||RHP|
|Johnson, Kris||Pittsburgh, Minnesota||Kansas City||LHP|
|Schultz, Bo||Arizona, Toronto||Grand Prairie||RHP|
|Thielbar, Caleb||Minnesota||St. Paul||LHP|
|*Thomas, Ian||Atlanta, Los Angeles-AL||Winnipeg||LHP|
|Roe, Chaz||Arizona, New York-AL, Baltimore, Atlanta, Tampa Bay||Laredo||RHP|
|2013||Guerra, Junior||Chicago-AL, Milwaukee||Wichita||RHP|
|Adleman, Tim||Cincinnati||El Paso, Lincoln||RHP|
|Peralta, David||Arizona||Wichita, Amarillo||OF|
|*Wilkerson, Aaron||Milwaukee||Grand Prairie||RHP|
|2014||#Bollinger, Ryan||New York-AL||St. Paul, Winnipeg||LHP|
|Brebbia, John||St. Louis||Sioux Falls, Laredo||RHP|
|Holdzkom, John||Pittsburgh||Sioux City, Amarillo||RHP|
|2018||Markel, Parker||Seattle||Sioux City||RHP|
Bold Face indicates active in majors this season
*First professional game was in an Independent league
#Was on active roster in majors, but did not play in a game
@Also played for Winnipeg in the Northern League
@@Also played for Gary in the Northern League
Wilkerson, Solter Winning
Injury-plagued right-hander Aaron Wilkerson, who lost his most recent opportunity with Milwaukee when he went on the injured list and the bullpen straightened out while he was sidelined, is once again pitching effectively in Triple-A. The onetime Grand Prairie hurler has only allowed one earned run in three starts since resuming work for San Antonio. He has given up nine hits in 15.1 innings.
Another righty who also started his pro career in the American Association (Gary and St. Paul), Matt Solter, has run his record to 2-0 since dropping down to Cleveland’s High A club in Lynchburg. The 25-year-old’s last two outings were identical–six innings, seven strikeouts, two walks and one run.
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.