Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz
The American Association stands very tall once again this week after Baseball America released its annual postseason list of prospects yet to join–or return to–a major league organization.
Independent Baseball specialist J.J. Cooper wrote what “is notable is how much talent now resides in Independent ball.” He singled out players in the American Association as five of the newspaper’s top seven candidates.
Topping the Baseball America chart is outfielder Dalton Wheat of Kansas City, who typifies the league’s constant use of rookies in that the 22-year-old came right out of Division II Emporia (KS) State and led the T-Bones with a .335 average and a .414 on-base percentage. Cooper believes the left-handed hitter “projects as a table-setter with plus-plus speed and solid plate discipline that should produce strong on-base numbers.”
Hard-throwing Laredo reliever Jose Nivar (pictured) is third on the list put together from conversations with managers and scouts just ahead of Alaskan righty Chad Nading of Wichita. Another Laredo hurler, Danny Reynolds, is sixth and still another righthander, Lindsey Caughel of Lincoln, ranks seventh.
Wichita outfielder T. J. Mittelstaedt is ranked 15th, Laredo southpaw Harold Guerrero 23rd, Fargo lefty Tyler Alexander 27th and second baseman Brett Wiley of Kansas City 34th.
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 his book, “The Passion of Baseball,” was introduced October 5 .