Independent Baseball Chatter – By Bob Wirz
David Espinosa finished his 15-year playing career this season, and already has launched a new one as Independent League Coordinator for the Miami Marlins.
“I am in charge of scouting and networking all the Independent leagues, ” the 33-year-old Venezuelan native said, with added duties of coaching during spring training.
The American Association’s all-time leader in hits, runs and triples, he is well versed on the Indy leagues, having spent most of the last eight seasons playing for eight different teams in the American Association and Atlantic League, including this past summer with Wichita and St. Paul.
While the infielder-outfielder did not advance above Triple-A except for spring training his list of accomplishments is a long one. Espinosa has 12 championship rings tucked away, including 2011 with Grand Prairie, 2014 with Wichita and what he called an “extremely special” opportunity with the USA Junior National team. The other rings were earned in youth leagues, high school and the affiliated minors.
Espinosa also played for Kansas City and Lincoln in the American Association.
And, he achieved something that eludes all too many athletes who turn professional right out of high school in that he earned a bachelors degree from Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale, FL last December. After being drafted in the first round by Cincinnati in 2000, he did not get to start college until a decade later.
Big Payday Possible for Team USA
Boston farmhand Aaron Wilkerson (Grand Prairie 2013-14) and free agent and fellow right-hander Cody Satterwhite (Sioux City 2013) are in position to help Team USA to a giant payday Saturday when the team goes against Korea in the finals of the Premier 12 championship in Japan. The winning team earns $1 million.
Here and There With Players
Gary infielder Spencer Mahoney‘s contract has been picked up by the New York Yankees, but they have new plans for the 22-year-old. The Yankees will try to convert him to a right-handed pitcher.
Lefty Greg Smith (Grand Prairie 2011), trying to turn some heads in the Dominican Republic since he is a free agent, has posted a 4.01 earned run average for his first six starts. Elsewhere in winter leagues, Luke Irvine (Kansas City 2013), an Arizona farmhand, is 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA for seven starts in Mexico and Milwaukee’s Junior Guerra (Wichita 2011, 2013) is 4-1, 3.12 after eight starts in Venezuela. Omar Bencomo, in the Minnesota farm system, has a 3.34 ERA but is 0-3 in Venezuela. He pitched for Laredo and Wichita.
Previously the chief spokesman for 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 as well as writing his own blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.