Tag Archives: independent baseball

Clearing Up Some Issues with the Heartland Of America Baseball League

There have recently been some questions surrounding the Heartland Of America Baseball League (HoABL) and the Ozarks Pro Baseball League. I wanted to post this email I received today from Art Wilkinson that will hopefully clear up some of the questions.

Kayla,

Please feel free to re-post this at your election.

There has been a great hue and cry about the division of the Heartland 
of America League and Ozarks Pro Baseball, or as it has been referred 
to, “the Ozark League”.

Players should rest assured that the only goal of every person 
employed by the Heartland of America Baseball League is to promote 
great players with drive, desire and talent, into Affiliated Baseball, 
and ultimately into the Major Leagues. The Heartland of America League 
Managers and Coaches include the over two dozen individuals who have 
played, coached and managed at the Major League Level. This talented 
group of teacher/mentors have hand-picked 210 of the country’s best 
players all under 26 years of age, and are fully prepared to move 
forward in support of assisting these players in realizing their 
dream. Our players come from all four corners of the USA, Canada, 
Mexico, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Germany, 
and Australia.

From the moment that we entered the arena of Independent Minor League 
Baseball, we took the position that we would not be a local or even 
regional brand. And, while we ARE “The Heartland of America Baseball 
League,” we are a national, international and global exhibition of The 
Greatest Game that God has ever permitted any man to play.

We would like to thank the scores of Major League Scouts who have 
referred players
directly to our league, as well as those baseball executives who have 
recognized the
excellence of our product and brand…before we have even thrown a 
single pitch. Our very first inter-league trade was made, also before 
a pitch has been thrown, when we sent one of our best 
middle-infielders to the reigning American Association Champion 
Wichita Wingnuts.

I want to assure all players who have been signed by any Manager, 
Coach or Executive of the Heartland of America League that your 
contracts are secure, your participation in our league is secure, and 
with your continued hard work and perseverance, your future will also 
be secure. Likewise any player signed to an Ozarks Pro Baseball 
contract prior to May 23, 2015, can also play in the Heartland of 
America League.

We are all here for one single and undivided purpose. Every league at 
every level seeks to use its best efforts to bring the highest quality 
of baseball to as many as will come out and cheer on their favorite 
team, or player.

Our mission has not changed. The strength of our character remains as 
it always was. And, the men and women of the Heartland of America 
League will never retreat from the daunting task of finding, 
developing and promoting the next generation of Major League Baseball 
Superstars.

Play Ball! We know we will…

With Deepest Respect for All,

Art Wilkinson
Executive VP, Baseball Operations
The Heartland of America League

If you would like to find out more about the Heartland of America Baseball League you can check out their website HERE, or check out the Q&A I did with Art, HERE.

Frontier League Draft Class Part Two – Opening Day

Frontier League opening night is upon us. That means it must be time for Part Two of my Frontier League draft class progress report. You can check out Part One of my story, Frontier League 2015 Draft Class, for more in-depth details on this year’s draft.

Overall, 34 players were given invites to spring training. This year, 14 of those players have made the opening day roster for their respective teams.

In addition, the number one overall draft pick, Robert Stock, had his contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization two days after officially signing with the Normal Cornbelters.

The 2015 draft was actually a good year for Rookies (R1s and R2s).  Of the 14 players starting the season, five are true rookies (R1) with no professional experience, six are listed as rookies with minimal professional/affiliated experience (R2s), and only three have played enough professional baseball to be listed as experienced (E).

Listed below are the 14 players that have earned a spot on an opening day roster.

  • Zach Stoner, C, Windy City. R2
  • Nick Grim, RHP, Rockford, E*
  • Kevin Jeffers, RHP, Normal, R1
  • Scott Harkin, RHP, Gateway, R2
  • Ty Nelson, C/OF, Lake Erie, E (Drafted as a C – listed as an OF)
  • Joe Iorio, RHP, Washington, R1
  • Kyle Bogese, RHP, Frontier Greys, R2
  • David Russo, LHP, Rockford, R2*
  • Robbie Buller, RHP, Gateway, R2
  • John Fidanza, C, Washington, R1
  • David Duncan, RHP, Florence, R1
  • Sheehan Planas-Arteaga, OF, Windy City, R2
  • Jack Clearly, C, Joliet, E
  • Connor Jones, OF, Frontier Greys, R1

*Grim and Russo both previously played with Rockford last season.

As the season continues, I plan on tracking the progress of these 14 players – which ones become breakout stars or All-Stars, and which ones get released after the games start counting. I am also looking forward to having a few posts featuring some of these players individually throughout the season.

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