Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz
Two more former American Association righthanders have been in the news.
Chris Smith, who pitched at Wichita three years ago, was taken off Oakland’s 40-man roster for the offseason and returned to Triple-A Nashville. Smith made it back to the majors for the first time since 2010 at age 35 to work in a dozen games for the Athletics. Since he crafted a 2.92 earned run average and struck out 29 batters in 24.2 innings it would seem logical he might get another look in spring training. He started 22 games at Nashville before the A’s brought him up.
On the youthful side, 24-year-old Tayler Scott, whose contracted was purchased from Sioux City in mid-season this year (1.88 ERA for 17 appearances), has been awarded a spot in the Arizona Fall League by Milwaukee after winning three of his five decisions (one save) and posting a 4.39 ERA at Double-A Biloxi.
Two other American Association players also will be in the talent-loaded league, with righty Tyler Herron (Fargo-Moorhead 2012, 2015-16) representing the New York Mets and center fielder Dexter Kjerstad (Amarillo 2015) for Miami.
Contually ‘Evolving’ Scherzer Stands Alone
The American Association has prominent representation in the postseason even though only one of its former players is currently active. That is 2007 Fort Worth Cats righty Max Scherzer, who shows he still is learning even though he was positioned to be the Game 1 National League Division Series starter for Washington against the Los Angeles Dodgers and is a strong candidate for the Cy Young award in the senior circuit which would match what he won in the American League for Detroit three years ago.
“I continued to evolve,” the 32-year-old told The Associated Press on the eve of squaring off against the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, pointing specifically to a cut slider that he throws to left-handed batters. “The hitters I face are great,” Scherzer said. “There’s a reason they’re driving nice cars on the other side. So I had to find more swing-and-miss pitches for lefties, and still find ways to pitch effectively against right-handed hitters.”
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 .