At the beginning of the season, Indy Ball Island took a look at what type of experience was on Frontier League rosters. Instead of doing the normal Frontier League classifications (Rookie 1 and 2, Experienced, and Veteran), our breakdown went a step further.
Rosters have been broken down into three different categories. Those are:
Affiliated Experience (a player who has any amount of time with an affiliated organization), Indy Only (a player who has only played in the independent leagues), College Only (a player who had no professional experience prior to this season).
Here is the break down of every Frontier League team’s active roster comparing Opening Day numbers to the numbers at All-Star Break (Opening Day/All-Star Break).
The teams are also now listed in order of their overall win percentage.
|Windy City Thunderbolts (.560)||8/7||12/10||4/7|
| River City
|Normal Cornbelters (.471)||13/13||6/4||5/6|
|Lake Erie Crushers (.460)||9/9||13/8||2/7|
|Traverse City Beach Bums (.440)||9/9||10/6||4/8|
|Joliet Slammers (.429)||13/15||7/6||3/2|
|Southern Illinois Miners (.412)||9/9||10/8||5/7|
|Gateway Grizzlies (.308)||12/10||4/4||8/9|
Number of affiliated Opening Day – 108
Number of affiliated All-Star Break – 119
Number of indy only Opening Day – 109
Number of indy only All-Star Break – 89
Number of college only Opening Day – 52
Number of college only All-Star Break – 70
As the number of affiliated and college only players increased (which makes sense as guys are getting released from organizations after the draft and college seasons are ending with many players not being drafted), the number of players who have played multiple years in independent baseball has gone down.
For the most part, teams haven’t changed the way they construct their team. Even though many transactions have taken place, the ratio between affiliated/indy only/college only have stayed relatively the same for each teach… whether they’re in first place or last place. It seems as if each team has a philosophy for what they believe works, and they stick with it.
There really isn’t a big correlation between what works in regards to standings either. The top team overall (first in the East division) has 13 affiliated players while the second team overall (and first in the West division) have only 2 affiliated players but the most independent only players at 14.
So does the type of experience really matter in the Frontier League…? It appears as though it really doesn’t.
It takes a team that understands their roster makeup and how to get guys to work together for a common purpose.
I’ve had a chance to see nearly every team play so far this season. The ones that win – the ones who are successful – are the teams that are a complete unit. You can tell they aren’t playing for themselves. Of course, moving up is the goal for many of these players, but none of that matters when you’re going for a Frontier League championship with your teammates who became brothers.
Indy ball is fun. It’s less stressful than affiliated ball in many ways… and a team that grasps that the best, will be a team that gets far.