While Cleveland and Chicago Cubs pitchers draw huge praise these days as their teams battle in the World Series, not every major league organization can brag about that type of talent.

Milwaukee is giving 24-year-old Tayler Scott, signed out of Sioux City in mid-summer, a solid look to see if he can help the Brewers in the future.  The 6-foot-3 right-hander went straight to Double-A from the Explorers (3-2, 4.39 in 24 relief appearances for Biloxi) and now he is getting more innings in the prestigious Arizona Fall League, which normally only has genuine prospects.

Scott, a Johannesburg, South Africa, native and onetime Cubs draft choice (yes, those Cubs chose him in the fifth round when he was just turning 19), has pitched four times for the Salt River Rafters.  Good results, too.  He has allowed only one earned run (1.50 ERA) and four hits in six innings.

Meanwhile, Tim Tebow is not the only one struggling at the plate in the AFL.  Center fielder Dexter Kjerstad, signed away from Amarillo one year ago, has only one hit in his first 23 at-bats.  He has played six games, scoring two runs and driving in one, and was a teammate to the Cubs’ Kyle Schwarber while the slugger was with the Mesa Solar Sox.

Winter League Results Promising

Onetime Wichita and Laredo right-hander Omar Bencomo, only one step below the major leagues in the Minnesota farm system, is among former American Association players off to a solid start in winter league play.  In three starts (14.1 innings) in Venezuela, he has an impressive 1.88 earned run average.  Opponents have gotten only 11 hits.

Australian Ryan Searle, a starter at Grand Prairie two years ago,  has a 1.25 ERA for seven innings in as many outings in Venezuela and Julio DePaula, who pitched briefly at St. Paul in 2011, has made three starts in the same league with a pair of wins and a 1.23 ERA.  Both hurlers are believed to be free agents.

Several Get New Deals From MLB Organizations

Player sales such as highly-regarded outfielder Dalton Wheat from Kansas City and pitcher Ryan Beckman of Laredo, both to Miami, always comes as welcome news, and so does the re-signing of onetime American Association players already in major league farm systems.

Fargo’s Brandon Mann not only got a new contract from Oakland, but the lefty was promoted to Triple-A after striking out 73 hitters in 72.1 innings this past season.  San Francisco promoted righty Nestor Molina (Joplin) to the same level, and Boston elevated onetime Gary shortstop Jose Sermo to Double-A.  He hit .292 this season.  Catcher Sean O’Connell (Lincoln) got a new Class AA pact from the Chicago White Sox.

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,, and his book, “The Passion of Baseball”, was introduced October 5 .


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