Independent Baseball Insider by Bob Wirz
The most recent American Association player to earn accolades in the majors is Baltimore reliever Chaz Roe (pictured), 28, who spent all of 2012 getting back on track at Laredo after topping out at Triple-A in both the Colorado and Seattle farm systems. He worked half the games that season (49), posting a 3-2 record and 1.47 ERA while striking out 69 hitters in 55 innings.
In 10 appearances since joining the Orioles in late May, including the last four in late innings of Baltimore victories, Roe has allowed only two earned runs and struck out 17 batters in 15.1 innings, averaging less than one runner per inning (0.91 WHIP), winning his only two decisions and compiling a 1.17 earned run average.
“You’ve all heard me talk a lot about those 28- to 32-year-old guys,” Manager Buck Showalter told pressboxonline.com after a recent outing by Roe. “He’s been on both sides of the mountain…he boarded every bus we took it seemed like (during spring training), and got everybody’s attention by the way he pitched when he got that opportunity.
Sioux City and Others Very Impressive, But Saints’ 21-3 Tops Everything
It seems almost insane not to feature a team’s start when Sioux City has won nine of its last 10 games to give the Explorers a 17-6 (.739) record nearly one-quarter of the way through the season, but this is not an ordinary season in the American Association.
Defending champion Wichita and newcomer Joplin also went into play Tuesday at 14-8, a .636 percentage that only the St. Louis Cardinals (42-21, .667) can boast of in the major leagues, still everyone is looking up–way up, in fact–to George Tsamis’s St. Paul Saints, who have an unheard of 21-3 record and a 10-game lead in the loss column of the North Division.
The Saints even found a new way of winning in Sioux Falls Sunday. They had to come from behind late for the first time this season when they found themselves trailing after seven innings. St. Paul has two players averaging more than a run batted in per game and a third only slightly behind that pace. League-leading Angelo Songco has 28 in 23 appearances, catcher Vinny DiFazio has 21in 16 contests and Ian Gac has 21 in 24 games.
Sioux City’s start has to be thrilling their fans since the team has only finished a year as much as eight games over .500 once since way back in 1999 when the Explorers still were in the Northern League and finished on top in the regular season at 51-34 under Ed Nottle.
Steve Montgomery got the Explorers rolling in the final month of his rookie managerial year last season when they played at a 19-11 pace. “We have a good corps of those (2014) players back, and we’ve added some great individuals with them,” General Manager Shane Tritz told The Sioux City Journal at the start of the ’15 campaign. He obviously had a feel for what was to come.
Previously the chief spokesman for Commissioners Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth, Bob Wirz has been writing extensively about Independent Baseball since 2003. He is a frequent contributor to this site as well as writing his blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com.