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2017 California Winter League Signings Mid-Season Update

CWL

After the California Winter League concludes each year, the league uploads a list of signings for the 2017 season.  This year, 73 different players have been listed as signing at least a spring training contract for various independent leagues and major league organizations within the United States.

Some players have been listed more than once and are denoted by an *

Since all the leagues are now mid-way through their seasons, we have decided to do an update to see how many CWL players are still on active rosters around the country.

Here is a look at how those players have done through mid-July:

MLB (8)

Shao-Pin Ho Miami Marlins (Playing for the Batavia Muckdogs.  He has yet to appear in a game with the Muckdogs, but in 4 games in the GCL, he had a .429 avg).
*Danny Hoy New York Mets (Playing for the Kingsport Mets. In 7 games, he has a .154 avg).
Andrew Alvarez Arizona Diamondbacks (ST) (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
*Jose Flores Arizona Diamondbacks (ST) (DL. Currently on the 60 day DL with the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League. He has not played in a game this season).
*Jarret Martin Texas Rangers (ST) (Playing for the Richmond Flying Squirrels – AA for the San Francisco Giants. He had a 0.98 ERA in 18 games with the York Revolution before his contract was sold to the Giants. With Richmond, he has a 3.52 ERA and 1-1 record in 13 games).
*Jose Flores Texas Rangers (ST) (DL. Currently on the 60 day DL with the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League. He has not played in a game this season).
*Josh McAdams Texas Rangers (ST) (Playing for the Lake Erie Crushers in the Frontier League. He has a .235 avg in 41 games and 136 AB).
*Kyano Cummings Texas Rangers (ST) (Playing for the Evansville Otters in the Frontier League. In 25 games and 32.2 IP, he has a 1.10 ERA with a 2-1 record while picking up 5 saves. Earlier this season, he pitched for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League where he had an ERA of 15 in 3 games and 3 IP).

Frontier League (35)

Blair Beck Windy City ThunderBolts (Playing for Windy City where he also played in 2016. This year, he has a .241 avg and 3 HR in 48 games).
James Ball Traverse City Beach Bums (Playing for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers in the United Shore League. After being released from Traverse City on July 1st with a 1-2 record and 7.99 ERA in 13 games and 23.2 IP, he went to the United Shore League. In 2 games and 2 IP with the Diamond Hoppers, he has 3 K and a 0.00 ERA).
Mike McClellan Schaumburg Boomers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Lucas Hunter Traverse City Beach Bums (Released on June 23rd. In the 13 games and 27 AB before being released, he had a .111 average with 2 stolen bases).
Adam Falcon So. Illinois Miners (Playing for the Trinidad Triggers in the Pecos League. He has a 10.56 ERA in 23 games and 23 IP with a 2-3 record and 27 K).
Peyton Lobdell So. Illinois Miners (Playing for the Lake Erie Crushers. Between both the Miners and the Crushers, he has pitched in 10 games (all starts) with a combined record of 3-6 with a 7.44 ERA in 52 IP).
Will Krug Windy City ThunderBolts (Playing for Windy City. He has a .103 avg in 26 games and 58 AB).
Joe Webb Evansville Otters (Released on June 8th. Before being released, he had a 8.03 ERA with a 0-1 record in 3 starts and 12.1 IP).
*Jose Flores Florence Freedom (DL. Currently on the 60 day DL with the Freedom. He has not played in a game this season).
Nate Ferrell Lake Erie Crushers (Playing for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers. He was released after 2 games and 2 AB with no hits for Lake Erie. Signed with the Freedom on June 13th but was released on June 29th after batting .208 in 6 games and 24 AB. With the Diamond Hoppers, he is batting .286 in 3 games and 14AB).
D’Aundray Van Slyke Florence Freedom (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Scott Morton Windy City ThunderBolts (Suspended. Placed on the suspended list at the beginning of spring training).
Brandon Oliver So. Illinois Miners (Playing for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers in the United Shore League. He was released during spring training with the Miners, then signed to the Lake Erie Crushers. He was also released by the Crushers on July 1st after batting .213 in 14 games and 47 AB. He then joined the Diamond Hoppers and is batting .250 in 2 games and 8 AB).
*Josh McAdams Lake Erie Crushers (Playing for the Crushers. He has a .235 avg in 41 games and 136 AB).
Josh Falbo Washington Wild Things (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Brandon Maddern Normal Cornbelters (Released on June 7th. He played in 7 games with a 17.18 ERA before being released).
Tyler Hunt Windy City ThunderBolts (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Andrew Moralez Evansville Otters (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Nick Murphy Traverse City Beach Bums (Playing for Traverse City. In 28 games and 91 AB, he has a .231 avg with 10 RBI).
DJ Gee River City Rascals (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Zach Jones Joliet Slammers (Playing for Windy City. He was orginally released by the Slammers in spring training. He signed with Windy City on July 3rd and has no hits in 1 game and 3 AB).
Nigel Nootbaar Normal Cornbelters (Released on June 30th. He had a 5.57 ERA with a 2-1 record in 15 games and 21 IP). 
Joe Mello Evansville Otters (Playing for Traverse City. He has a 1.80 ERA with a 0-1 record and 20 K in 15 games and 25 IP).
Ryan Rinsky Florence Freedom (Playing for the Freedom. In 17 games and 43 AB, he has a .140 avg with 7 RBI).
Dillion Sprague River City Rascals (Playing for the Utica Unicorns in the United Shore League. He was released by the Rascals in spring training and went to the USPBL in July. In 4 games and 7 AB with the Unicorns, he has a .286 avg).
Cody Beck Gateway Grizzlies (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Richard England Schaumburg Boomers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Ryan Garvey Traverse City Beach Bums (Playing for Traverse City. He has a .174 avg with 7 RBI in 26 games and 86 AB).
Ozzy Braff Florence Freedom (Playing for the Freedom. In 28 games and 74 AB, he is batting .243 with 9 RBI).
Bobby San Martin Washington Wild Things (Playing for the Beavers in the United Shore League. After being released by the WildThings in the Frontier during spring training, he went to the United Shore. In 6 games and 18 AB, he has a .167 average).
Robert Maislin Lake Erie Crushers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Lance Montano Evansville Otters (Playing for the Otters. In 27 games and 83 AB, he has a .265 avg with 2 HR).
Nick Berger Washington Wild Things (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Justin Kovalsky Joliet Slammers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
*Brent Gillespie Gateway Grizzlies (Playing for the San Rafael Pacifics in the Pacific Association. After being released from spring trainings, he returned to the Pacifics where he was in 2016. This year, he has a .274 avg and 30 RBI in 31 games and 117 AB).

Atlantic League (2)

*Kyano Cummings So. Maryland Blue Crabs (Playing for the Evansville Otters in the Frontier League. In 25 games and 32.2 IP, he has a 1.10 ERA with a 2-1 record while picking up 5 saves. Earlier this season, he pitched for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League where he had an ERA of 15 in 3 games and 3 IP).
*Jarrett Martin York Revolution (Playing for the Richmond Flying Squirrels – AA for the San Francisco Giants. He had a 0.98 ERA in 18 games with the York Revolution before his contract was sold to the Giants. With Richmond, he has a 3.52 ERA and 1-1 record in 13 games).

American Association (11)

Matt Silberman Cleburne Railroaders (Playing for the San Rafael Pacifics in the Pacific Association. Released by the Railroaders during spring training. He then signed with Windy City in the Frontier League on June 28th. He pitched in one game with 3 H and 2 BB without recording an out. He was released on July 11th. In 1 game with the Pacifics he has a 0.00 ERA in 4.2 IP).
Casey Upperman Cleburne Railroaders (Playing for the Railroaders. In 17 games and 19.2 IP, he has a 2.29 ERA).
Thomas McGuckin Texas Airhogs (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
John Crank Texas Airhogs (Playing for the Beavers in the United Shore League. After being released by Texas in spring training, he went to the Beavers where he has a .148 avg. in 8 games and 27 AB).
Lance Van Noy Winnipeg Goldeyes (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Alfonso Reda Lincoln Saltdogs (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
John Menken Cleburne Railroaders (Playing for the Eastside Diamond Hoppers in the United Shore League.  In 21 games and 80 AB, he has a .338 avg with 14 RBI).
Casey Fletcher Texas Airhogs (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Dylan Thompson Sioux Falls Canaries (Playing for the Canaries – where he also played in 2016 For this season, he has a 0.34 ERA in 23 games and 26.2 IP with a record of 2-1).
Jake Luce Texas Airhogs (Released on June 8th. He had a .151 avg in 18 g and 53 AB before being released).
Quinton Alexander Texas Airhogs (Playing for the Utica Unicorns in the United Shore League. In 9 games and 22 AB, he has a .227 avg).

Can-Am League (1)

Jeff Watkins Quebec Les Capitales (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).

Pacific Association (5)

Elijah Briseno San Rafael Pacifics (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Matt LoCoco Sonoma Stompers (Playing for the Stompers. He has a .244 avg with 18 RBI in 30 games and 90 AB).
Dakota Freese San Rafael Pacifics (Playing for the Pacifics. In 7 starts and 41.2 IP, he has a 2-1 record with a 3.24 ERA and 57 K).
Tyler Garkow Sonoma Stompers (Playing for the Stompers. He has a 4-0 record and a 3.14 ERA with 49K in 7 starts and 43 IP).
Alex Sawelson Sonoma Stompers (Playing for the Bakersfield Train Robbers in the Pecos League. He was released by Sonoma during spring training, but with the Train Robbers, he has a .316 avg, 5 HR and 31 RBI in 29 games and 114 AB).

United Shore Professional Baseball League (17)

Thomas Roulis Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Beavers. He has a .284 avg with 10 RBI in 24 games and 81 AB).
John Kraft Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for Eastside. In 13 games and 33 AB, he has a .273 avg).
*Brent Gillespie Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for the San Rafael Pacifics in the Pacific Association. After being released from spring trainings, he returned to the Pacifics where he was in 2016. This year, he has a .274 avg and 30 RBI in 31 games and 117 AB).
Tanner Oymaian Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Shane Gonzales Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Released. In 5 games and 18 AB, he had a .167 avg before being released).
Mark Burnside Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Tanner Kiest Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for Eastside. In 2 games (1 start) and 5 IP, he has a 3.60 ERA with 7 K).
Tony Holten Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Released during spring training. No stats available for 2017).
Kevin Matthews Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Rome Braves, A ball for the Atlanta Braves. After going 2-1 with a 1.60 ERA in 6 games for the Beavers, he signed with the Braves organization. In 4 games and 6.1 IP with Rome, he has a 0.00 ERA with 5 K).
Nick Buckner Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Beavers. He has an average of .269 in 25 games and 93 AB).
Cameron MacKenzie Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Beavers. In 11 games and 13.1 IP, he has a 2.77 ERA).
Louis Johnson Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Beavers. He has a .212 avg in 14 games and 33 AB).
Brian Heldman Birmingham-Bloomfield Beavers (Playing for the Beavers. In 9 games and 10.1 IP, he has a 1-2 record and a 111.32 ERA).
Jeremy Scott Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for Eastside. He has 7 RBI and a .222 avg in 14 games and 27 AB).
Devin Alexander Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for Eastside. He has a 3-1 record with a 2.78 ERA in 10 games and 32.1 IP).
Jordan Pannell Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Playing for Eastside. In 13 games and 23 IP, he has a 1.96 ERA with a 3-0 record).
Myles Richard Eastside Diamond Hoppers (Released. Started 2 games and pitched 8.2 innings with a 9.34 ERA and 0-1 record before being released).

 

Out of the 73 players, 43 of them are still currently active on a roster and playing somewhere.

Of those 43 players, 19 of them are now on a different team than the one they originally signed with. Many that signed with the Frontier League or American Association are now in the Pacific Association or United Shore League.

Despite having a deal with the Frontier League to offer contracts, only 11 of the 35 players signed to Frontier League contracts are still playing in the Frontier League. Three of those 11 are currently on a different Frontier team than the one they signed to out of the CWL.

(All stats and rosters were found through PointStreak).

Q & A with the South Florida Winter League

Many readers have been asking about various winter leagues that will be taking place after the season.  One league that has been coming up in recent discussions has been the newly revamped South Florida Winter League.  I have interviewed Dennis K, the VP of Baseball Operations and Player Development, to clear up any questions prospective players may have about the league.

Who are some of your directors, advisers, and coaches for the league?

  • Mel Stocker, 9 years MLB/MILB Outfielder, will do a outfielder and professional conditioning clinic, addressing both during season and off season conditioning.
  • John Nestor, Clemson Grad/AA Padres and Wichita Wingnuts, will do a catchers clinic.
  • Kevin Hooper, MLB Detroit Tigers Infielder and current Wichita Wingnuts manager, will speak to all players on career advancement and also do an infielder clinic.
  • Head Independent Scout for the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Director of Scouting for the Baltimore Orioles.
  • Associate Scout for the Atlanta Braves.
  • Steve Shrenk, Philadelphia Phillies roving pitching instructor.
  • Jim HIckey, MLB Pitching coach for the Tampa Rays.
  • Reggie Jefferson, 10 year MLB player and now Agent for Reynolds Sports Management and agent for Tori Hunter and Justin Upton http://www.reynoldssports.com/,  will be educating players on what agents are supposed to do, how they conduct themselves, and the process of choosing a agent.

Coaches include:

  • Brooks Carey from the Normal Cornbelters
  • Hal Lanier from the Ottawa Champions
  • Director of Scouting for the Baltimore Orioles
  • Wade Guinn, Manager of the newly formed and NCBL Champions, the Newburgh Newts.
  • Danny Acosta, Area Scout for the Texas Rangers and Sports Psychologist

And not announced yet due to contractual obligations to their current teams are:

  • 2 coaches from the American Association, 2 separate teams represented.
  • And there could also possibly be additional coaches and representatives from the newly formed and only successful “start up” Independent league this year the NCBL either coaching or there to evaluate and sign new players.

Is this league pay to play?

Yes, this is a pay to play league – there is no doubt about that. It will be $800 if registered before Sept 15. After that, it will go up to $1000 because of having to add accommodations to the agenda.

What are the players getting for their money?

  • 40 games and their housing, (not food)
  • Professional Coaching staff, facilities and training
  • Uniforms – including pants, jerseys, hats, BP Shirts and practice shorts
    • (Players will be required to return the pants and jerseys, but they will keep hats and BP/practice stuff).
  • Exposure to some of the best managers and coaches in independent baseball who will be on hand, either the entire time or at multiple times during league play. The managers of the teams will be there all the time, and other managers are planning to attend to conduct a clinic or speak to players in a conference setting about career advancement.

Where will the league be taking place?

We are playing at the former Cleveland Indians spring training facility in Florida. We will be using the entire facilities, clubhouse, locker rooms, training areas, laundry facilities etc.

(Stadium can be seen in the header photo courtesy of littleballparks.com)

We are also very excited to have Vernon Koslow, the club house manager for the Sussex County Miners, as our club house manager for the entire league.

How many games are on the schedule?

There will be 40 games for each team. There will also be no releases or trades. Once you are there, you are there for all 40 games.

What types of players are you looking for to participate in this league? Is it just for rookies or can players with pro experience also attend?

One of the things that makes this a much different winter league is that you have to be referred into the league by a current professional coach/manager (independent or affiliated coach) or an affiliated scout. We are not just going to accept money from anyone who can pay. We want players who legitimately have a chance to play at a higher level than they were at last year, whatever that level was.

We DO NOT guarantee any players future contracts, but we feel that with our coaching staff and people involved, they will get more attention/exposure than any four hour tryout they have ever been to. Our opinion is that four hours or even two weeks is not a fair sampling of what a player can do. 40 games equates to 140-180 at bats for every day players and roughly 20-30 innings for pitchers. We will not let any pitcher throw more than 4 or 5 innings depending on pitch count per day, as we do not intend to risk any players futures. Our goal is to keep them in shape and hopefully help them improve.

Do you have a limit on how many players will be in the league?

Right now, there are 5 teams on the schedule with 24 players per roster, as there will need to be extra pitchers so no pitcher will have to over work their arms. However, one of the teams is owned and advised by a MLB Director of scouting. They will have their own team, and we have no say in who joins that team. You have to try out or contact them separately from the other teams

Do you believe the players will have a legitimate chance to sign a professional contract after playing in the league?

All of the managers are current coaches or managers in the Frontier, American Association, or Can Am leagues, so each of the leagues are represented.  It is our intention to keep every single players’ information available to every manager, coach or scout. So just because players are not “signed” immediately from the league or right after, we want to be the first call the teams make in the event they lose a player to promotion or, God for bid, injury.

We only want players who have that legitimate opportunity to play in the Frontier, American Association, Can Am, or affiliated rookie to high A level. We do have some guys transitioning from Double AA affiliated into independent baseball leagues who are registered already and will be coming to stay in shape and continue to improve. We will not accept players based on the sole fact they have the ability to pay.

What separates you from other pay to play winter leagues?

We believe the line that sets us apart is the fee – $800 for 40 games, which includes players’ housing. Yes, I said housing and NOT food, but there will be opportunities for players to take advantage of sponsor deals.  We are not doing this to make money off of players who still have dreams. We are doing this to keep players in shape and to give the inexperienced players an opportunity to get experience.  Plus, who does not want to come to Florida in October and November when its starting to get cold everywhere else?!

Where can players register/tryout if they would like to participate?

On our website www.southfloridawinterleague.com. They can also follow us on Twitter @SFWLbaseball or on Facebook, South Florida Winter League.

I just wanted to thank Dennis for taking the time and answering questions!