Independent Baseball Chatter – by Bob Wirz
Jared Mortensen makes a very good story for the American Association because it was in the league where he threw his very first professional pitches in 2013.
Three years after breaking in with a 4-6, 3.77 season as mostly a starter at Grand Prairie, the 28-year-old righthander suddenly finds himself with a new life only one step from the major leagues. The Canadian was drafted into the Houston farm system in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings outside of Washington, D.C., Thursday.
He had been in the Tampa Bay system, going 7-7, 5.23 as primarily a relief pitcher for Double-A Montgomery this past summer. What set the 5-foot-11 hurler apart were his 86 strikeouts in a mere 70.1 innings. He gave up only 53 hits although his walks were somewhat high at 57.
Saltdogs’ Caughel Lands in Triple-A
After four seasons in the Los Angeles Dodgers farm system when he did not advance past Class A and a strong ’16 campaign with the Lincoln Saltdogs, Lindsey Caughel finds himself just one step below the major leagues in the Seattle farm system.
The Mariners signed the 26-year-old after he put up a 2.09 earned run average (6-3) as a starter for Lincoln and think so much of the right-hander that they have him on their Triple-A Tacoma roster this winter. The onetime Stetson University hurler was stingy in allowing base-runners in the American Association, giving up only 101 hits and 24 walks in 124.2 innings.
Laredo’s Denker Gets New Pact From Arizona
Free agent infielder Travis Denker, who has been at Laredo all or part of the last three seasons, has been given a new contract by Arizona, which has kept him assigned to Class AA Mobile. Now 31, Denker had a 25-home run campaign and drove in 85 runs in 99 games during 2014 in Laredo, his only full season with the team. He hit 13 homers, batted .303 and had a .416 on-base percentage in 68 games for Mobile last season.
Previously the chief spokesman for Baseball 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, has a blog, www.IndyBaseballChatter.com, and his book, “The Passion of Baseball”, was introduced in October.