Independent Living

For those of you who follow the Cubs minor leagues, you may be interested to know that getting released isn't necessarily the End of the Baseball World as it once was.

While 1B Brian Dopirak (now at Hi-A with Toronto Blue Jays), RHP Joel Santo (at Hi-A with Houston Astros), SS Carlos Rojas (at AA with Baltimore Orioles), and RHP Bobby Brownlie (with Cleveland Indians at AA in 2007, now with Washington Nationals at AA) were able to sign with MLB minor league affiliates after getting released by the Cubs, many other ex-Cubs prospects have signed deals with independent professional baseball clubs for 2008.  

Independent professional leagues are located from California to New England, from Florida to Canada, and more than two dozen ex-Cub minor leaguers and (in some cases) one-time Baseball America Top Ten prospects currently populate independent league rosters.

Playing in an independent league isn't necessarily a dead end, either. RHP Tanner Watson (curently a rotation starter at AA Tennessee) and RHP Dumas Garcia (currently the co-closer at Daytona) were signed by the Cubs last year out of independent leagues, and (for example) LHP George Sherrill (BAL), LHP Joe Thatcher (SD), and RHP Nelson Figueroa (NYM) got back to the minor leagues (and eventually got to the big leagues) after pitching in independent professional leagues.  

Here are the ex-Cubs presently on the rosters of independent league teams (and I wouldn't be surprised to see recently-released INF Ryne Malone and RHP Ryan Meyers join them):

AMERICAN ASSOCIATION:
Albenis Machado, SS (El Paso)
Derek Schermerhorn, 1B (Wichita)
Brandon Sing, 1B (Pensacola)
John Webb, RHP (Pensacola) 

ATLANTIC LEAGUE:
Gary Cates, SS (Camden)
Nic Jackson, OF (Camden)
Richard Lewis, 2B (Camden)
Mike Nannini, RHP (Lancaster, PA)
John Nelson, INF (Lancaster, PA)
Chris Walker, OF (Camden)
NOTE: Cates, Jackson, Lewis, and Walker were teammates on the Cubs AA West Tenn DiamondJaxx club in 2006, and Nannini and Nelson were teammates on the Iowa Cubs last year.  
 
CAN-AM LEAGUE:
Isaac Pavlik, LHP (New Jersey)

FRONTIER LEAGUE:
Corey Bachman, RHP (Washington, PA)
Matt Hudgins, C-1B (Kalamazoo)
Brian Leclerc, OF (Rockford)
Andrew McCormick, RHP (Chilicothe, OH)
Matt Maradeo, RHP (Washington, PA)
Billy Mottram, 3B (Florence, KY)

GOLDEN LEAGUE:
Michael Bartek, RHP (Orange County)
Peter Farina, C (Yuma)

NORTHERN LEAGUE
Patrick Brooks, 2B (Gary)
Luke Hagerty, LHP (Schaumburg)
Scott Koerber, LHP (Fargo)
Ryan O'Malley, LHP (Schaumburg) 
Robert Ransom, RHP (Winnipeg)
Alan Rick, C (Fargo)
NOTE: Koerber and Rick were teammates last year at AA Tennessee.

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Comments

Thanks, Phil.

I'm surprised to read that Ryne Malone was released. He seemed like he might have a decent bat. What's the word?

ROMERO

AZ Phil,

What happened to the sidewinder? Seemed like he had good promise.

Anybody know whatever happened to "Moonlight" Greenberg? Last reference I can find is a Royals minor league stint...

Submitted by Romero on Wed, 04/23/2008 - 7:24pm.

Thanks, Phil.

I'm surprised to read that Ryne Malone was released. He seemed like he might have a decent bat. What's the word?

ROMERO

===========================

ROMERO: Ryne Malone has a decent bat, but he also has minimal power, below-average speed, and well below-average defensive skills no matter where he plays, so he just got caught in a numbers game.

The Cubs preferred Matt Matulia and Jonathan Mota as utility infielders over Malone.

Submitted by SheffieldCornelia on Wed, 04/23/2008 - 10:00pm.

AZ Phil, What happened to the sidewinder? Seemed like he had good promise.

===============================

SHEFF: I would say Matt Maradeo is the type of pitcher who could be very successful in an independent league and he could very well find himself back in the minor leagues (like maybe Hi-A or AA) after spending a year or two in indy ball.

The only reason the Cubs released him is simply because he was too old (he turns 25 in June) to go back to Extended Spring Training and then Boise. He really had to make either the Peoria or Daytona roster coming out of minor league camp, and he just missed the final cut at Peoria.

He still has decent potential, though. His age was against him.

Submitted by dbt on Wed, 04/23/2008 - 10:45pm.

Anybody know whatever happened to "Moonlight" Greenberg? Last reference I can find is a Royals minor league stint...

 =================================

DBT: Adam Greenberg signed with Bridgeport of the Atlantic League (same league where Walker, Lewis, Jackson, Cates, Nannini, and Nelson are playing) after he was released by the Royals at the end of Minor League Camp last month. Bridgeport is close to Adam's home in New Haven, so he should be a very popular player.

Compared to the other independent leagues, the Atlantic League tends to attract older players with extensive AA and AAA and sometimes even MLB experience. For instance, ex-Cubs Bobby Hill and Randall Simon are playing for Newark in 2008, and guys like Ricky Henderson, Jose Canseco, and Jose Lima played for Newark in past years when they were trying to get back into MLB.

The Atlantic League is essentially a AA league where all the players are veteran "organizational players" (that is, it's a AA league minus the "Top Ten Prospects" you would find in the Southern League, Texas League, and Eastern League).

Most MLB clubs (especially the Cubs) regularly scout independent baseball, and it's not unusual for MLB clubs to sign guys out of independent leagues when reinforcements are needed at Hi-A, AA or AAA during the season. 

Independent teams do not stand in the way of a player who has a chance to get back to the minor leagues, so any player who wants his release will get his release, and then they're usually welcome to come back later if things don't work out. That's what happened with Ryan O'Malley, who signed with Schaumburg (Northern League) in February, then got his release after he was offered a minor league contract by the Cubs, before returning to Schaumburg after he got released by the Cubs at the end of Minor League Camp. 

Great story as always!

Here's something you might be able to research for us in a similar manner: What ex-Cub farmhands are playing in the Mexican/Japanese leagues?

The statistics and peers would not agree with your assessment of Malone Romero ...if you breakdown the stats , Malone was the best power hitting mid infielder we had in the minors ? Think is was more of a overdraft with Thomas and Barney plus some young Latin players ...Malone never got a shot at what hitting coaches at spring trading called the best hitting mid infielder in the system ..something went wrong after spring training and I am pretty sure it wasn't talent..just another good Cub let go for no reason ??? Didn't take him long to find a club.

Jonathan Mota > Peoria Chiefs > Batting Stats AB H 2B 3B HR BB IW HP K SH SF GDP BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP G L F P B U
Overall 91 25 2 1 0 6 0 1 14 1 1 2 0.275 0.323 0.319 0.642 0.325 48 8 12 7 4 0
vs LHP 30 10 1 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 1 0.333 0.375 0.367 0.742 0.357 17 3 4 3 1 0
vs RHP 61 15 1 1 0 4 0 1 12 1 1 1 0.246 0.299 0.295 0.594 0.306 31 5 8 4 3 0
Home 62 16 1 1 0 3 0 0 11 1 0 1 0.258 0.292 0.306 0.599 0.314 34 4 7 4 3 0
Road 29 9 1 0 0 3 0 1 3 0 1 1 0.310 0.382 0.345 0.727 0.346 14 4 5 3 1 0
0 out 34 11 0 0 0 1 0 1 5 1 0 1 0.324 0.361 0.324 0.685 0.379 20 2 4 1 3 0
1 out 31 8 2 1 0 2 0 0 4 0 1 1 0.258 0.294 0.387 0.681 0.296 15 3 5 4 1 0
2 out 26 6 0 0 0 3 0 0 5 0 0 0 0.231 0.310 0.231 0.541 0.286 13 3 3 2 0 0
none on 47 15 2 1 0 4 0 1 7 0 0 0 0.319 0.385 0.404 0.789 0.375 23 5 7 2 3 0
men on 44 10 0 0 0 2 0 0 7 1 1 2 0.227 0.255 0.227 0.483 0.270 25 3 5 5 1 0
RISP 26 7 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 1 0 0.269 0.286 0.269 0.555 0.292 14 3 3 5 0 0
C & L 20 5 0 1 0 2 0 0 8 0 1 1 0.250 0.304 0.350 0.654 0.417 8 1 3 1 0 0
AB H 2B 3B HR BB IW HP K SH SF GDP BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP G L F P B U
April 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.167 0.167 0.167 0.333 0.200 4 1 0 0 0 0
May 58 18 1 1 0 3 0 0 8 1 1 1 0.310 0.339 0.362 0.701 0.360 34 3 9 4 2 0
June 27 6 1 0 0 3 0 1 5 0 0 1 0.222 0.323 0.259 0.582 0.273 10 4 3 3 2 0
Bat 1st 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 2 0 0 0 0 0
Bat 2nd 34 9 1 0 0 3 0 0 8 0 1 1 0.265 0.316 0.294 0.610 0.346 15 2 5 4 1 0
Bat 6th 5 2 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.400 0.500 0.600 1.100 0.500 0 2 1 1 0 0
Bat 7th 8 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.375 0.375 0.375 0.750 0.375 7 0 1 0 0 0
Bat 8th 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 4 0 0 0 0 0
Bat 9th 37 11 0 1 0 2 0 1 4 1 0 0 0.297 0.350 0.351 0.701 0.333 20 4 5 2 3 0
As 2B 12 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.250 0.308 0.333 0.641 0.273 5 2 2 2 0 0
As SS 78 22 1 1 0 4 0 1 13 1 1 1 0.282 0.321 0.321 0.642 0.338 42 6 10 5 4 0
As DH 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.500 0.000 0.500 0.000 1 0 0 0 0 0
Park Adj 91 26 2 1 0 6 0 1 14 1 1 2 0.286 0.333 0.330 0.663 0.338 47 8 12 7 4 0
MLE 91 19 1 1 0 3 0 1 16 1 1 2 0.209 0.240 0.242 0.481 0.253 45 8 12 7 4 0

Malone > Peoria Chiefs > Batting Stats AB H 2B 3B HR BB IW HP K SH SF GDP BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP G L F P B U
Overall 183 52 16 2 2 27 0 3 34 0 0 2 0.284 0.385 0.426 0.811 0.340 58 18 59 13 1 0
vs LHP 45 11 1 1 1 2 0 3 12 0 0 0 0.244 0.320 0.378 0.698 0.313 14 3 13 3 0 0
vs RHP 138 41 15 1 1 25 0 0 22 0 0 2 0.297 0.405 0.442 0.847 0.348 44 15 46 10 1 0
Home 88 31 9 1 1 16 0 1 11 0 0 1 0.352 0.457 0.511 0.969 0.395 29 5 36 7 0 0
Road 95 21 7 1 1 11 0 2 23 0 0 1 0.221 0.315 0.347 0.662 0.282 29 13 23 6 1 0
0 out 61 16 3 0 2 10 0 2 9 0 0 1 0.262 0.384 0.410 0.793 0.280 23 6 16 6 1 0
1 out 62 16 8 1 0 9 0 1 14 0 0 1 0.258 0.361 0.419 0.780 0.333 17 5 21 5 0 0
2 out 60 20 5 1 0 8 0 0 11 0 0 0 0.333 0.412 0.450 0.862 0.408 18 7 22 2 0 0
none on 98 26 7 1 1 10 0 2 14 0 0 0 0.265 0.345 0.388 0.733 0.301 31 9 38 5 1 0
men on 85 26 9 1 1 17 0 1 20 0 0 2 0.306 0.427 0.471 0.898 0.391 27 9 21 8 0 0
RISP 48 16 7 1 0 12 0 0 10 0 0 0 0.333 0.467 0.521 0.988 0.421 15 6 13 4 0 0
C & L 34 10 5 0 0 10 0 0 4 0 0 0 0.294 0.455 0.441 0.896 0.333 16 3 10 1 0 0
AB H 2B 3B HR BB IW HP K SH SF GDP BA OBP SLG OPS BABIP G L F P B U
June 13 4 3 0 0 1 0 0 5 0 0 0 0.308 0.357 0.538 0.896 0.500 1 3 3 1 0 0
July 94 28 8 1 1 12 0 3 15 0 0 1 0.298 0.394 0.436 0.831 0.346 33 9 31 5 1 0
August 76 20 5 1 1 14 0 0 14 0 0 1 0.263 0.378 0.395 0.773 0.311 24 6 25 7 0 0
Bat 1st 7 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 0 0.286 0.375 0.286 0.661 0.500 3 0 1 0 0 0
Bat 2nd 77 23 8 0 1 11 0 0 13 0 0 0 0.299 0.386 0.442 0.828 0.349 27 6 28 3 0 0
Bat 3rd 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.250 0.000 0.250 0.000 2 0 0 1 0 0
Bat 4th 7 2 2 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 0 1 0.286 0.500 0.571 1.071 0.333 1 1 3 1 0 0
Bat 5th 46 12 0 1 1 5 0 2 7 0 0 0 0.261 0.358 0.370 0.728 0.289 18 5 10 5 1 0
Bat 6th 18 7 2 0 0 4 0 0 3 0 0 0 0.389 0.500 0.500 1.000 0.467 4 2 7 2 0 0
Bat 7th 19 5 4 0 0 2 0 1 6 0 0 0 0.263 0.364 0.474 0.837 0.385 2 4 6 1 0 0
Bat 8th 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0 3 0 0 0
Bat 9th 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0.333 0.333 1.000 1.333 0.500 1 0 1 0 0 0
As 2B 63 21 7 0 1 8 0 0 11 0 0 1 0.333 0.408 0.492 0.901 0.392 20 6 23 3 0 0
As 3B 84 24 4 1 1 12 0 2 12 0 0 1 0.286 0.388 0.393 0.781 0.324 31 8 26 6 1 0
As DH 34 5 3 1 0 7 0 1 11 0 0 0 0.147 0.310 0.294 0.604 0.217 7 2 10 4 0 0
As PH 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 3.000 1.000 0 2 0 0 0 0
Park Adj 181 54 16 2 2 29 0 3 34 0 0 2 0.298 0.404 0.442 0.846 0.359 56 18 57 13 1 0
MLE 181 39 11 1 1 16 0 2 40 0 0 2 0.215 0.286 0.304 0.590 0.271 54 17 55 13 1 0

Mota / Made / Matulia / 10 others ..not close

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