Tag Archives: Independent baseball news

2022 Season Wrap-Up and a Look Ahead

The 2022 MLB World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros kicks off tonight, officially starting the beginning to the end of the 2022 baseball season.

Additionally, the MLB partner leagues and other independent leagues have all wrapped up their seasons and are looking ahead to what the 2023 season will bring.

Here’s a look at your 2022 season champions and some news on what you can look forward to in 2023.

2022 Season Champions:

MLB Partner Leagues

Atlantic League – The Lancaster Barnstormers captured their third Atlantic League championship with a series sweep over the High Point Rockers.
Lancaster Barnstormers Official Press Release

American Association – The Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks walked off on the Milwaukee Milkmen in the bottom of the 10th inning in game five of the Miles Wolff Cup Finals to win the 2022 American Association Championship.
American Association Official Press Release

Frontier League –  The Quebec Capitales became the first team to defeat the Schaumburg Boomers in a playoff series to capture the Frontier League Championship in four games. 
Frontier League Official Press Release

Pioneer League – The GJ Rockies win their first PBL Championship in 41 years with a two-game sweep over defending champions the Missoula Paddleheads.
Pioneer League Official Press Release

MLB Draft League – The WV Black Bears win the inaugural MLB Draft League Championship. (While the first half of the season featured draft eligible prospects, the second half belonged to professional players who have exhausted their amateur eligibility.)
MLB Draft League Official Press Release

Other Independent Leagues

United Shore Pro Baseball League – The Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers rallied from four runs down late to defeat the Utica Unicorns in the USPBL Championship Game.
United Shore Pro Baseball League Official Press Release

Pecos League – The Roswell Invaders won their fourth Pecos League championship, their first in seven years, after defeating the defending champions the Tucson Saguaros.

Empire League – The Tupper Lake Riverpigs win their first Empire League Championship.
Empire League Official Press Release

Mavericks League – The Salem Senators defeated the Portland Mavericks to win the Mavericks League Championship.
Mavericks League Official Website

Yinzer Baseball Confederacy – In its third season of play, the Yinzer League (ran by Black Sox Pro Baseball) continued to be a feeder league for many players. Throughout the summer, players from the Yinzer League were able to sign contracts and play in various MLB Partner Leagues.

2023 News

Atlantic League

Nashville Developer Acquires Lexington Legends and Wild Health Field
Nathan and Keri Lyons have acquired the Lexington Legends of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) along with Wild Health Field and its real estate.
Read more HERE (Atlantic League).

York Revolution Announce Rick Forney as New Manager
Forney, a native of Frederick, Maryland, spent the last 17 seasons managing the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association, compiling a record of 887-753 with 13 winning seasons, 10 playoff appearances and three league championships in 2012, 2016 and 2017. He was also named American Association Manager of the Year in 2011 and 2020.
Read more HERE (York Dispatch).

Atlantic League Breaks Ground in Hagerstown
A ground breaking ceremony was held in Hagerstown which is set to host a new Atlantic League team in 2024.
Read more HERE (Herald-Mail Media).

Frontier League

Crushers Name Jared Lemieux Manager
Lemieux spent the past 2 seasons coaching with the New Jersey Jackals, and has been involved in professional baseball, either playing or coaching since 2006.
Read more HERE (Frontier League).

Florence Names Chad Rhodes Manager
This marks Rhoades’ third stint with Florence, having spent his two previous stops with Florence as the team’s pitching coach.
Read more HERE (Frontier League).

Windy City Names MLB All-Star Richie Sexson Manager
This will be the first professional managerial position for Sexson, who has spent much of the last decade as director of baseball at Summit High School in Bend, Oregon. He played for 12 seasons in the Major Leagues from 1997-2008.  
Read more HERE (Frontier League).

2023 Schedule Announced
The Frontier League, a MLB Professional Partner League, unveiled the schedule for its 30th season of play.  The 2023 regular season will begin on Thursday, May 11 and run through Sunday, September 3.
Read more HERE (Frontier League).

Pioneer League

Stu Pederson Named Second Ever Manager of Range Riders
Pederson served as an assistant coach for the Range Riders this past season, helping guide the team to a successful second half, including a 17-12 record at home and a five-game home win streak to finish off the season.
Read more HERE (Our Sports Central).

2023 Missoula PaddleHeads Coaching Staff Announced
 Manager, Michael Schlact is returning to the Garden City after having the highest winning percentage in all of professional baseball each of the past two seasons. The PaddleHeads have re-signed 2022 hitting coach, Jeff Lyle who played an integral role in the team’s success in 2022. New to the coaching staff, but not to the PaddleHeads is the new 2023 assistant coach Brandon Riley. Riley has been a leader in the clubhouse each of his past two playing seasons in Missoula.
Read more HERE (Our Sports Central).

MLB Draft League

2023 Format Announced
First half (June 1-July 4): For Amateur/Draft-eligible players from the Divisions I-III, NAIA, junior college and high school (graduating seniors) levels. 30 games per team.
Second half (July 7-Sept. 2): For professional players who have exhausted their amateur eligibility. Players receive housing, meal money, travel and weekly compensation. 50 games per team.

See the MLB Draft League Official Site HERE.

2023 Schedule Announced
The halves will be uneven with 30 scheduled games per team in the first half and 50 scheduled games per team in the second half.
See the Draft League schedule HERE (MLB Draft League).

United Shore Pro Baseball League

2023 Schedule Announced
The 70-game schedule will run from May 19 through September 9 at Jimmy John’s Field in historic downtown Utica, Mich.
See the USPBL schedule HERE (USPBL).

Pecos League

The Pecos League Announced two new teams for the 2023 season
The Marysville Drakes in California (more info HERE) and the Blackwell FlyCatchers in Oklahoma (more info HERE).

Empire League

The Empire League Reveals New Team
 The Empire Baseball League has revealed the team name for the new Malone, New York team to be the Border Hounds.
More info HERE (Empire League).

Black Sox Pro Baseball

The Black Sox Pro Baseball League will be again hosting off-season workouts, a competition camp in Florida, and continuing with their spring training barnstorming tour against the MLB Partner Leagues.
More info HERE (Black Sox Pro Baseball).

The Atlantic League Draft Results, Kentucky Genomes Make History With Alexis “Scrappy” Hopkins

The Atlantic League held their annual player draft on Wednesday (March 23, 2022) where one team, the first-year Kentucky Genomes, made history.

With the 8th pick, the Genomes selected C Alexis “Scrappy” Hopkins.

“Hopkins is expected to become the Genomes’ bullpen catcher and is believed to be the first woman ever drafted by an American professional baseball team for an on-field role.” (MLB.com).

“I’m really excited for this,” Hopkins said. “About two or three years ago in one of my college classes, they said to write down a dream of yours. I was going to put down ‘professional baseball player,’ but I actually didn’t because I was like, ‘That’s never going to happen.’ But I guess here we are today, making a dream come alive.”

Hopkins played high school softball in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., before playing collegiately at Florida Tech in 2017. Her selection in the Draft followed the league’s two-day professional showcase.

“Scrappy handled the pitchers better than most of the guys here,” said Stan Cliburn, a former Major League catcher and current manager of the Atlantic League’s Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. “There were guys throwing 93 to 95 [mph], and she handled it just fine. And she was really good at blocking and picking the ball as well.”

MLB.com

Complete Atlantic League Draft Results Press Release

(March 23, 2022, Viera, Fla.) – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball held its annual Player Draft on Wednesday at the USSSA Space Coast Complex in Viera, Fla. The draft occurred at the end of the two-day Atlantic League Professional Showcase presented by Prospect Dugout.

Hector Guance was the first overall pick, going to the Staten Island FerryHawks who will begin their first season of play in 2022. Guance is a 6-6, 200-pound righthanded pitcher who spent six years in professional baseball including five seasons in the Baltimore organization. A native of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, the 26-year old Guance compiled a 22-21 record in the minors, primarily as a starting pitcher.

The second pick went to the Kentucky Wild Health Genomes, another first-year franchise in the Atlantic League. The Genomes traded the pick to Long Island in return for the rights to OF Chris Shaw. Long Island then drafted LHP Cody Beckman with the second pick of the first round.

As new entries to the Atlantic League, the FerryHawks and the Genomes alternated on the first 12 picks of the draft.  The third overall pick by the FerryHawks was RHP Jordan Simpson. Kentucky then selected C Robbie Kellerman with the fourth pick.

Staten Island’s other selections included LHP Anthony Rodriguez (No. 5) and RHP Yohn Zapata (No. 11). The FerryHawks traded away their seventh and ninth selections for players to be named later.

Kentucky selected utility player Will Decker at No. 6 before selecting C Alexis “Scrappy” Hopkins at No. 8.  Hopkins is believed to be the first female ever drafted by an American professional baseball team for an on-field role. In 2008, in a special supplemental Negro League draft to the MLB Draft, the Washington Nationals selected 72-year old Mamie “Peanut” Johnson to mark the first woman ever drafted.

Update: According to Baseball America, LHP Carey Schueler was a 43rd round pick of the Chicago White Sox in 1993. While she did not sign, she is believed to be the first woman drafted in a non-honorary role.

The Genomes are expected to offer Hopkins the position of bullpen catcher.

Kentucky added RHP Bradley Hines at No. 10 and 1B Alex Wemple at No. 12 to conclude their first round selections.

Southern Maryland made the ninth selection after obtaining the pick from Staten Island and chose RHP Junior Navas.

Gastonia used the 13th pick in the draft to select SS Kevin Lambert while York picked LHP Adrian Alarcon with the 14th pick. Lancaster chose LHP Josh Smith at No. 15 and was followed by Charleston which took OF Kyle Robinson. Defending Atlantic League champion Lexington picked LHP Darrien Ragins with the 17th pick overall. Southern Maryland added LHP Dario Polanco at No. 18 and High Point picked RHP Thomas Derer with the 19th pick. Long Island passed on the final selection of the first round and all teams passed on the second round.

The Atlantic League teams open spring training on April 10 and Opening Day is slated for Thursday, April 21.

The complete draft follows:

2022 Atlantic League Draft  
Wednesday, March 23, 2022 
PickTeamSelection No. 
1Staten IslandHector GuanceRHP
2KentuckyTraded to Long Island 
 Long IslandCody BeckmanLHP
3Staten IslandJordan SimpsonRHP
4KentuckyRobbie KellermanC
5Staten IslandAnthony RodriguezLHP
6KentuckyWill DeckerUTIL
7Staten Islandtrade to York 
 YorkMatt MeyerLHP
8KentuckyAlexis “Scrappy” HopkinsC
9Staten Islandtrade to So. Maryland 
 So MarylandJunior NavasRHP
10KentuckyBradley HinesRHP
11Staten IslandYohn ZapataRHP
12KentuckyAlex Wemple1B
13GastoniaKevin LambertSS
14YorkAdrian AlarconLHP
15LancasterJosh SmithLHP
16CharlestonKyle RobinsonOF
17LexingtonDarrien RaginsLHP
18So MarylandDario PolancoLHP
19High PointThomas DererRHP
20Long Islandpass