Tag Archives: Javy Marticorena

Where Are They Now? Player Updates

Recently, a follower of this site sent me an email asking if I could provide an update about how some of the players I had previously covered are doing.

As the halfway mark of the season has approached, here are the updates of 18 players that I have covered on Indy Ball Island. (Clicking their names will take you to their original articles.)

John Holdzkom – In my very first blog post, I remarked that John Holdzkom’s story was the reason I wanted to start this website. John is currently on the DL for the second time this year. He has spent the entire season with the Pirates Triple A team, the Indianapolis Indians. After getting off to a rough start, he is 2-0 on the season with a 3.38 ERA and 27 Ks in 21.1 IP.

indyholdzkom

(Mark Dickhaus)

Matt Sergey – Another personal post I made early on was covering Matt Sergey’s perfect game for the Washington Wild Things. Matt is back with the Wild Things for the 2015 season. In 9 starts, he is 3-3 with a 2.33 ERA. He has already passed his career-high professionally for innings pitched (54) and has 59 Ks.

Chris Peacock – After being signed in the offseason by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Peacock was released and then returned to the American Association, this time with the St. Paul Saints. He has a 1.59 ERA with a 1-0 record in 11 games.

Three of the players that I covered from the Pecos League TV show are playing this season :

Tony Smith – Tony was traded right before the season started from the Schaumburg Boomers of the Frontier League to the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the American Association.  He is 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA in 16 games (2 of which were starts).  He has 33 K in 37 IP.

Sam DiMatteo – Sam is playing with the Old Orchard Beach Surge of the newly formed North Country Baseball League.  He is batting .344 in 23 games (102 plate appearances).  He also has 2 HR, 16 RBI and 9 stolen bases.

Jacob Fabry – Jacob is once again teammates with Sam and has been playing on the Surge as well. He is batting . 296 in 26 games (129 plate appearances).  He has contributed 12 RBI and stolen 8 bases so far this season.

sam and jacob

(Sam DiMatteo. Sam took a ball off his ankle.. he’ll be okay!)

Tim Henry – Another one of the Pecos League stories, Tim is back with the Alpine Cowboys in the Pecos League for the 2015 season. In 42 games (118 AB), he has a .246 average with 2 HR and 21 RBI.

Omar Artsen – Omar was signed by the Miami Marlins out of the Pecos League last year; However he was eventually released by the Marlins organization.  He then went to the American Association and played 2 games with the Winnipeg Goldeyes going 1-7 at the plate.  After being released from the Goldeyes, he played for the Garden State Grays in the Can-Am league for only 3 games with 1 H in 8 AB.

Brandon Cunniff – After earning his second chance at affiliated ball with the Braves, Brandon never looked back. This year, Brandon started the season in the bullpen for the Atlanta Braves. He set an Atlanta rookie record when he didn’t allowed a hit in four relief appearances (four innings) to start his major league career. Brandon has a 2-2 record, 4.23 ERA and 30 K in 30 games with the big league club. At one point in the season, he was sent to AAA Gwinnett where he has a 1-0 record in 3 games. He has since returned to the big league club but is currently on the major league 15 day DL for a groin strain.

brandon-cunniff-braves-pic

(emspeedtraining.com)

Javy Marticorena – Javy achieved his dream of landing on Indy Ball Island when he signed a contract to play in the Mt Rainier League.  Sadly, the MRPBL folded after just a few weeks, and Javy is back home working hard for another opportunity.

Nick Renault – Nick, like Javy, was caught up in the MRPBL drama, but he still made the most of his few weeks being back in his hometown in Oregon and enjoyed his short stay. He is now back home in Hawaii.

CJ Beatty – CJ used his never give up attitude to bounce back after being released from the White Sox organization at the beginning of the season.  He came back to the Washington Wild Things in the Frontier League and is batting .262 in 42 games with 2 HR and 21 RBI.  CJ will have to use his positive attitude once more to get through another tough situation as he now finds himself on the DL with a quad injury.

CJ

(CJ Beatty)

Al Yevoli – Al was picked up by the Arizona Diamondbacks after the 2015 Frontier League season, but was released during spring training.  Instead of returning to the Wild Things, Al landed a spot with the Wichita Wingnuts in the American Association.  He has a 3-0 record with a 3.67 ERA and 26 K in 26 games (27 IP).

Stewart Ijames – Stewart started the season with the High A Visalia Rawhide for the Arizona Diamondbacks. After batting .267 with 15 HR and 37 RBI in 60 games, he was promoted to the Double A Mobile BayBears. In 14 games (31 AB), he is batting .323 with 1 HR (his first hit in AA) and 7 RBI.

Matt Fields – After being released from the KC Royals organization, Matt was signed by the Diamondbacks and was sent to Double A Mobile BayBears. In 3 games (11AB) so far, he is batting .364 with 1 HR.

mobile

(Matt Fields)

Sean Conroy – After making news as baseball’s first openly gay active player, Sean is still doing well with the Sonoma Stompers of the Pacific Association. He has a 2-1 record with a 0.69 ERA including 24 K in 26 IP in 10 games (2 starts).

Aussie in America updates

Luke Wilkins – Luke is currently 4-2 with a 2.80 ERA starting in 10 games for the Washington Wild Things. He has struck out 35 in 61 IP. His 61 innings pitched are the most on the Wild Things team.

2015-05-21 22.44.41

Ben Lodge – In 37 games (130 AB) with the Frontier Greys, Ben is batting .208 with 8 RBI.

Stay tuned and subscribe for more updates as the season progresses!

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The Journey to Land on Indy Ball Island

Long bus rides, grueling schedules, host families and run down hotels all for only $600 a month sounds anything but glamorous.  Unfortunately, this is the reality of independent league baseball.  Is it worth it in the end? For some guys it is… for others, it’s not always so kind.

One wouldn’t think that there are thousands of guys begging to live this lifestyle, but the truth is, there are. Why would someone want to try so hard to get into this situation? The answer is simple: for love of the game and the chance to keep pursuing your childhood dream.

If a guy plays all the way through college and isn’t drafted by an MLB team after graduation, it can still be hard for him to just let it go.  Those guys turn to independent ball to keep the dream alive. They believe that if they just get that one chance with a professional team, a better opportunity might arise.

Often times people view indy ball as the beginning for a player, but there is so much more than meets the eye.  It may be the beginning of a player’s pro career, but what you can’t see is the hard work and the struggle that goes into reaching even the lowest level of professional baseball.

Baseball is a true commitment that can include focusing more on the sport than on any type of social life while growing up. Baseball practice is chosen over birthday parties. It’s full of grueling training and long hours.  Later on, the commitment only gets stronger. The fun side of college life is often given up in exchange for extra hours in the gym, practice, and games.  But players are willing to trade it all for that one chance to fulfill their childhood dream, to go against the odds and to prove everyone wrong. They just want to be in that 0.5% that makes it to the pros.

One player who understands the commitment and has experienced the struggles is Javy Marticorena.  He is currently looking to continue his career after college and land on indy ball island, but he knows that he still has a lot to prove.

Javy’s story starts out like many players around the country.  He first picked up a bat when he was five years old and played in his first organized game when he was seven.  It was love at first hit.  From then on, he knew that he wanted to be a professional baseball player when he grew up.  Baseball was where excelled and had the most fun.

Being from Miami didn’t hurt either. He was able to play and get better year-round. He was consistently named tournament MVP in youth league and become the Pony League World Series Home Run Derby champion after blasting 17 home runs when he was 13 years old.

He was also a standout on his high school team and started to turn some heads in the baseball world. During his senior year, he was named the Florida 6A Player of the Year after hitting .574 with 8 HR in 30 games. That year, he also led his team to state runner-up and played against Manny Machado which helped scouts recognize him.

There was only one problem that held the scouts back:  they believed he was too short to be successful at the professional level.  At 5’9″, he just wasn’t expected to stick around and continue his success against bigger competition.

“It was disappointing, but I didn’t let it stop me. I used it as a reason to keep going” said Javy. “I knew I had to work harder than the bigger guys because I really have to stand out to get noticed.”

He stayed in Miami and played college ball for St. Thomas University his freshman year going up against the top ranked junior colleges in the nation. He ended the season batting .333 with 2 HR and 18 RBIs in just 15 games.  Due to his lack of playing time, he decided to transfer to Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA.  Their program was improving, and he loved the idea of being on the team that turned it around.

However, he experienced his biggest obstacle to date during his sophomore year.  36 games into the season, he tore his ACL and meniscus.  After rushing back for his junior year, Javy continued to struggle.

“It took me a while to bounce back from my injury. I was messing around a lot with my mechanics and approach. I never got comfortable with what I was doing. My knee was really starting to bother me, and I began compensating for it.  If there was one thing I learned from my injury, it is that I can never take this game for granted. It owes me nothing.”

He returned to Point Park for his senior year, where everything started to click again. He felt comfortable on the field and at the plate. He bounced back from his injury and put up respectable numbers.

“I didn’t have the year that I wanted, but I still had a much better year than my junior season. I knew I wasn’t ready to hang up my cleats just yet. I wanted to play at least one more summer.”

Javy spent this summer playing for the Weyburn Beavers of the Western Major Baseball League, Canada’s premier collegiate summer league. With college in his rear view mirror, he just wanted to get back to the game he loved.

“There’s always a certain feeling to starting a new season that’s a big relief; to just start fresh again. I knew I was going to have a great summer. I thought it was going to be my last chance to play ball after not getting drafted from high school or college, so I played more relaxed and simply for the fun and love of the game.  I got rid of all the pressure I felt in college and that’s when I played my best.”

After putting up great numbers and leading his team in batting average (.364) and RBIs (38) and finishing 2nd in home runs with 5 (becoming the only player to be in the top three of each category), the every day outfielder realized that he needed to make a position change in order to make it further.

“After the summer in Canada, I decided to make a transition to become a catcher.This move will hopefully give me a better shot at playing at the next level, and I’m working at it every day.  I’m spending more time lifting as well and still playing league games every Sunday to stay in shape. I feel great and confident with the progress I’ve made and how fast I’m learning the toughest position on the field.”

Javy has been attending tryouts and has more lined up for the off season.  He has the heart and determination to make it in indy ball and beyond. He’s just hoping for a chance, and he’ll keep working at it until he does. Because if there’s one thing this underdog likes, it is the chance to prove everyone wrong.