Tag Archives: Indy Ball Signings

2021 The Summer of Signings

Major League Baseball organizations are signing independent players at an alarming rate this summer.

Baseball America has reported that 150 players have been signed from the MLB Partner Leagues (Atlantic League, American Association, Frontier League, and Pioneer League) as of their article on June 25th.

With the reduction in minor league affiliated teams, it makes sense for the MLB Partner Leagues to act as true feeder leagues to major league organizations. On top of that, the summer off for most players last year also has to be attributing to the injury-riddled rosters.

And while the number of contracts purchased gives indy ball players hope, it is starting to affect the level of play (especially pitching) for those still within the partner leagues.

If you’ve watched any game from a Partner League this season, you may have noticed that the level of play is down from years past. That was evident in the beginning of the season, but even more so now that their rosters have all been poached for talent to fill spots. Specifically, there is a huge drop in the level of pitching. Teams are really just trying to find arms to fill spots and eat up innings. Throwing strikes with some sort of velocity is a plus, but even that is getting harder and harder to find.

So if the major league organizations find players in the partner leagues, where do the partner leagues go to fill their depleted rosters?

Of course, the normal college grads are always an option but…

There are various true independent leagues running around the country that each have a goal to get players the game reps they need to be seen and hopefully move up to a partner league.

Right now, the Yinzer League (based in the Frontier League Washington Wildthing’s ballpark in Pennsylvania) are playing games every day. This league, ran by Joe Torre and the Black Sox (you may be familiar with them if you’re a reader of this site), has worked hard to get guys seen and signed this summer. Players have gone to each partner league in the month that they have been playing.

The USPBL (which also runs out of a single stadium in Utica, MI) is another option for players who need a spot to play.

Likewise, the Pecos League in the southwest and the Empire League in the northeast are giving players opportunities to play, gain stats, and hopefully move up to a team that is looking for a player who is already game ready.

If you’re sitting at home but want to get back in the game… there ARE spots available. A LOT of spots. It may not be easy finding them. It may be a true grind once you get there. But teams are looking.

Vallejo Admirals to sign Brandon Phillips

Brandon Phillips to sign

The Admirals announced on Tuesday their intention to sign long time major leaguer Brandon Phillips. The 17-year MLB veteran is the older brother of Vallejo manager P.J. Phillips.

Phillips is expected to join the Admirals on Thursday for their game in Sonoma. He will then play during the two-game homestand on Friday and Saturday.

“It’s a pleasure to be managing my brother,” P.J. Phillips said. “It was a dream to play with him and it’s exciting to have him be part of the Admirals.”

Brandon Phillips last played in the Major Leagues last year, playing nine games for the World Champion Boston Red Sox. He spent 11 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, starting mostly at second base. He is a lifetime .275 hitter with 209 stolen bases in the big leagues. He was named to three all-star teams (all during his time with the Reds) and earned four Gold Glove awards at second base. He also won one Silver Slugger award.

“I’m excited to be playing for my brother.” Brandon Phillips said. “I’ve always hit the ball well in California.”

Brandon Phillips twice earned Most Valuable Player votes, finishing 13th in 2012 and 22nd in 2007. In 2007, he hit a career-high 30 home runs with 94 RBI to go along with 32 stolen bases (also a career-high). He was the third player in Cincinnati history to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a single season.

In 2012, Brandon Phillips hit .281 with 18 home runs and 77 RBI to help the Reds win the National League Central Division. In 2013, he knocked in a career-high 103 runs.

The Phillips brothers both graduated from Redan High School-Stone Mountain (Ga.) and each was drafted in the second round of the MLB draft: Brandon in 1999 by the Montreal Expos and P.J. in 2005 by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Their sister Porsha Phillips played for the San Antonio Silver of the WNBA and their brother Jamil played in the Texas Rangers organization.

The Vallejo Admirals are in their seventh season as members of the Pacific Association. The Admirals have made the playoffs the past two seasons and won the 2017 Pacific Association championship.

P.J. Phillips is in his fourth season as manager of the Admirals. He played six seasons in the Angels organization and one in the Reds organization.

The Admirals will face Salina at 6:35 p.m. on Friday and San Rafael at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday. For ticket information, go to vallejoadmirals.com or call 707-641-1111