Tag Archives: indy ball

Adelaide Giants Win Record-Setting 12 in a Row

Indy Ball Island rarely endorses a specific team.

It’s unfair.

It’s biased.

But it’s hard not to be when one team contains numerous players that have played independent baseball.

This single team has so many guys that I have met throughout my years watching and covering independent baseball… Guys who have supported this site (and me) unconditionally and have truly made Indy Ball Island what it is today.

It’s really hard for me not to love the Adelaide Giants.

Oh and by the way… the Adelaide Giants, with a roster of nine players with American independent baseball experience, just set a modern day Australian Baseball League (ABL) record with 12 wins in a row.

Long time readers of the site might remember a blog series, “Aussie in America“, which featured pitcher Luke Wilkins.

Or maybe even the crazy live tweeting from Josh Tols on a 12 bus ride with no AC.

But let me introduce (or reintroduce) you to the 9 independent league baseball players who helped bring Adelaide to a historic 12 game winning streak.

Quincy Latimore – the “seasoned” veteran of this group, Quincy has been playing professional baseball since he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007. And in 2007, you wouldn’t have met a more die-hard fan of the entire Pirates organization than myself. (That’s right… if you do the math, I’ve known Q for 15 years). After his time with the Pirates was over in 2012, he landed with the Cleveland Indians organization to begin 2013; however, he ended the season in Washington, PA with the Washington Wild Things. I still hold that 2013 team close to my heart. Getting to see Quincy enjoy baseball at the indy level was a joy, and I still love watching him play this great game.
This game has taken him all around the world where he has hit 249 career homeruns (here’s to 250 coming soon!) and played in almost 1,900 professional games. His latest indy stint in America has been with the High Point Rockers in the Atlantic League where he has played since 2019. Currently, Quincy has reached base in all 20 games he’s played in with Adelaide this season.

Luke Wilkins – another former Washington Wild Thing, Luke played here during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. Our blog series “Aussie in America” became a huge hit and helped me gain a lot of followers from down under (G’day mates!) In 2019, he returned to America to play in the American Association with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks, Sioux Falls Canaries, and the Chicago Dogs. This is Luke’s 12th season in the ABL with the majority coming with the Sydney Blue Sox. He is a versatile part of the pitching staff in Adelaide and for Team Australia where he can start or come in as relief when needed.

Nick Ward – the final Washington Wild Thing on the list (who just re-signed here for another season), Nick was a Frontier League All-Star in 2022 putting up numbers that placed him in MVP contention. He finished the season 3rd in the league in average (.349) and amassed 61 RBI and 19 HR while leading the Wild Things to first place in the West Division. Prior to his three seasons in Washington, Nick was a prospect in the Oakland Athletics organization and won an NCAA Division 2 National Championship. He is also a member of the Great Britain national team that qualified for the World Baseball Classic. So far in Adelaide, his MVP numbers have not slowed down. He is leading the Giants in Average (.385), SLG (.756), OPS (1.229) and HR (6).

Josh Tols – one of my original Pecos boys, Josh has experienced some of the harshest conditions American indy ball has to offer. After a 5-0 record with the Trinidad Triggers in the Pecos League, Josh was able to move up and spend two seasons with the Kansas City T-Bones in the American Association before signing with the Philadelphia Phillies organization. He returned to the American Association in 2021 with the Kane County Cougars. After spending five seasons with Melbourne, Josh returned to his hometown of Adelaide for his ninth season in the ABL. He has been one of the best pitchers in Australia during the last decade and is a member of Team Australia.

Todd Van Steensel – another staple of Team Australia’s bullpen, Todd has played multiple seasons in America with the Phillies and Twins organizations as well as a season in the American Association with the St. Paul Saints. After pitching for a decade with the Sydney Blue Sox, Todd is closing out games for a second season in Adelaide. He has already earned 4 saves with a 0.00 ERA in 7 appearances this season.

Miguel Cienfuegos – the second 2022 Frontier League All-Star on the list, Miguel was absolutely lights out for the Frontier League champs, the Québec Capitales. In his second season with Québec, he finished the regular season with a 10-2 record and 1.79 ERA in 131 innings. His stellar season led him to win the Canadian Baseball Network’s 2022 Claude Pelletier Award, as top pitcher in the independent/foreign ranks. Miguel has continued his winning ways in Adelaide with a 3-0 record in 5 starts, including one complete game.

Adam McKillican – another Frontier League Québec alum, Adam pitched in just 6 games with Québec in 2021 before being signed to the Texas Rangers organization. But his breakout season happened after making the switch to the Colorado Rockies organization. During the 2022 season, Adam pitched in 32 games for the High-A Spokane Indians with a 3-0 record and 1.64 ERA earning him the title of the Rockies’ organizational all-star relief pitcher. He has been a solid addition to the back end of Adelaide’s bullpen where he has earned 2 wins and 3 saves while striking out 12 and walking none in 10.1 IP so far this season.

Quintin Torres-Costa – a former Milwaukee Brewers prospect from 2015 – 2021, Quintin turned to indy ball for the 2022 season looking for another shot to prove himself after having Tommy John surgery at the end of the 2018 season. While with the Gastonia Honey Hunters, he compiled a 4-2 record with a 2.76 ERA and 66 strikeouts in 49 innings. He currently has a 3-1 record in his first ABL season.

Luis Aviles Jr – taking advantage of independent baseball’s ability to play during the COVID season, Luis played 12 games for the Sugar Land Lighting Sloths in the Constellation Energy League while in between affiliated stints for the Milwaukee Brewers organization (2013-2019) and Los Angeles Angels organization (2021). Last season, Luis split time between AA and AAA with the Miami Marlins. He continues to see the ball well at the plate with a .313 average and .835 OPS while making great defensive plays in the infield for Adelaide.

The Adelaide Giants are looking to keep their winning streak alive with their next set of home games December 16th – 18th against the Perth Heat.

All ABL games can be streamed live for free at https://baseball.com.au/

Frontier League and American Association Implement Pitch Clock for 2023 Season

The pitch clock, which has been in place in the Atlantic League for many years as well as making its way to affiliated minor leagues, has arrived in the Frontier League and the American Association.

According to an article in the Sports Business Journal, the pitch clock seems to be doing what it is intended to do at the minor league level. “MLB data… showed that in its first year in use across MiLB, the pitch clock has ‘reduced the average game time from 3 hours 4 minutes in 2021 to 2:36 in 2022.'”

As someone who has watched countless independent baseball games in the past 20 years, it is painfully obvious that the overall game times have increased. I saw more 4+ hour games last season than I ever have in the past.

Pitch clocks are being introduced to get rid of downtime while not drastically changing the game as a whole.

As a fan who watches games with and without a pitch clock, I do believe it is accomplishing this task.

Even those who were against a pitch clock at first are coming around when they see it in action. At the end of the 2021 season, The Ringer reported:

MLB players have opposed the pitch clock in the past, but the rapid pace of play in Low-A won over doubters such as another former major leaguer and recent addition to the MLB C-suite, senior vice president of on-field operations Raúl Ibañez, who calls the stricter pitch clock the most exciting of the 2021 experiments. “I was not just surprised, but blown away by the pace, the quality of play, how crisp and fluid the game flowed, and not just the action that was involved in the game, but the frequency of action,” Ibañez says. “You had to keep your eyes focused on the game. It felt like a baseball game just with a really great tempo and rhythm to it. It felt like the game that I grew up watching in the 1980s.”

The Ringer

The Frontier League and American Association also seem to think this is going to be a good move.

Official Frontier League Press Release:

The Frontier League announced on Friday they will be adding a Pitch Clock in all ballparks for the 2023 season. The clock, which will limit the time pitchers and hitters take between pitches, is designed to increase the action and reduce the down time in Frontier League games. 

The new rules will require pitchers to wait no longer than 14 seconds between pitches when there are no runners on base.  If there are runners on base, they will have 18 seconds to deliver the ball to home plate.  Batters must be in the box and ready to hit at the 9 second mark.  Violation of these time parameters can result in a called strike or ball depending on the offender. 

The rule changes also include limits on the number of disengagements (pick-off attempts, stepping off the pitching rubber, etc.) a pitcher can make per at-bat.  Once a runner is on base, the pitcher is allowed two disengagements.  If the pitcher makes a third pick-off attempt, for example, and does not pick-off the runner, a balk will be called, and the baserunner(s) will advance one base. 

“The League Directors are committed to offering the best possible entertainment to Frontier League fans, and we believe the addition of a pitch clock will help achieve this goal”, stated Frontier League President Eric Krupa. “These two changes will increase the pace of Frontier League games and provide our fans a more enjoyable experience when they come out to our ballparks or watch our games on FloSports.” 

There will be a grace period to start the Frontier League season, with warnings issued but no penalties enforced.  The automatic ball, strike, or balk will be fully enforced beginning with games on Tuesday, May 30. 

“I am excited to see the use of the pitch clock in our league,” commented Schaumburg field manager and former Frontier League pitcher Jamie Bennett.  “Deep down I am a baseball traditionalist, but this is one of those things that I believe will have a positive impact on our league and the fan experience.  It will keep the game moving and prevent unnecessary delays without really much of a rule change.” 

Over the years, the Frontier League has adopted other rules that mirror what MLB has implemented in affiliated baseball to improve the pace of games.  Previous changes included the adoption of rules to require a batter to keep one foot in the batter’s box and limits on the number of mound visits each team was allowed during games. 

The Frontier League will kick off the 2023 season on Thursday May 11th.  The League is the largest and longest tenured MLB Partner League, featuring 16 teams stretching from St. Louis to Quebec City, Canada. 

Official American Association Press Release:

MOORHEAD, MINN. – The Board of Directors of the American Association has voted to institute pitch clocks as part of an effort to address pace of play. The change is effective for the 2023 season.

The American Association pitch clocks will follow the same rules being instituted in Major League Baseball in 2023. Those rules include:

  • Pitchers will have 15 seconds to deliver a pitch with the bases empty.
  • Pitchers will have 20 seconds to deliver a pitch with runners on base.
  • The pitcher must begin his motion before the pitch clock expires or be charged with an automatic ball.
  • Batters must be prepared to receive a pitch in the batter’s box with at least eight seconds remaining. Batters who violate the pitch clock will be charged with an automatic strike.
  • There shall be a 30-second timer between batters.
  • Pitchers will be allowed to step off the rubber or attempt a pick-off move twice per batter. If a third attempt to pick-off a runner is unsuccessful, the runner automatically advances one base.
  • The step-off/pick-off limit resets if a runner or runners advance during the plate appearance.

In 2022, the American Association average game time reached three hours and eleven minutes (3:11) and has been on an upward trajectory for over a decade. Pitch clocks were utilized on a trial-basis throughout Minor League Baseball in 2022, which resulted in an average savings of 26 minutes per game.

“We believe a move to pitch clocks was a logical evolution based on the data gathered in affiliated baseball. We further believe this will return the game to what it once was when it became America’s pastime,” said American Association Commissioner Joshua Schaub. “As evidenced by the increased pace of play and little to no effect on on-field play, the rousing success in Minor League Baseball can be duplicated in the American Association. The fan experience is first and foremost on our minds at all times and our clubs are excited to begin instituting these new timers in their ballparks to provide the best fan experience.”

Each ballpark will be equipped with three Daktronics pitch clocks. Two will be located behind home plate. The third clock will be located in the outfield. The exact outfield installation location will be determined by each club.

The American Association is the premier MLB Partner League in North America. The 12-team circuit will open the 2023 season on May 11. For more information on the American Association, please visit www.aabaseball.com or our social media channels.

Indy Ball Island will provide updates and reactions as information and data become available during the 2023 season.