While the American Association playoffs rightfully command the most attention these days, now that Junior Guerra, James Hoyt and Chaz Roe have returned to the majors fans of the league have 10 players who have been with at least one team to cheer for at baseball’s highest level.
Another group of onetime AA players also have proven their ability in major league-affiliated minor leagues by finishing among the leaders for the entire season in their league.
Power righty Max Scherzer (Fort Worth) and reliever Brandon Kintzler (St. Paul plus Winnipeg before the current league was formed) almost certainly will be part of major league postseason play with Washington while outfielder David Peralta (Wichita and Amarillo) will have the same opportunity with Arizona.
The others are on teams that need a late run to get into the postseason or need a strong September to earn a spot on the 25-man postseason roster. James Paxton (Grand Prairie) is possibly in the best position with Seattle if he can overcome the strained pectoral muscle that has had the lefty disabled since August 11. Hoyt (Wichita) is one who probably needs a strong finish to the season while Guerra (Wichita) and Roe (Laredo) and fellow right-hander John Brebbia (Sioux Falls and Laredo) appear to be longer shots to be in the postseason since their teams are outside of prime postseason status at present. Guerra is with Milwaukee, Roe with Tampa Bay and Brebbia with St. Louis. The others making the American Association proud are hurlers Tim Adleman (Lincoln and El Paso) with Cincinnati and Chris Smith (Wichita) with Oakland.
Impressive Work in the Minors
Right-handed pitcher Aaron Wilkerson, who has been on the brink of a major league opportunity for some time now without getting a call after starting in the American Association (Grand Prairie) for parts of two seasons, had another outstanding year in the minors although he dropped down one level this season to Milwaukee’s Double-A affiliate in Biloxi.
Wilkerson, 28, who missed nearly two seasons after college while recovering from elbow surgery, tied for second in the Southern League with 11 victories (11-4, 3.16), was third in strikeouts (143 in 142.1 innings), gave up only 117 hits and had the top WHIP (walks plus hits divided by innings) of 1.07, which should at least get him a look for the second year in a row in spring training.
Another starter with a double-digit win season was Lindsey Caughel (Lincoln and Sioux City), whose 10 victories for Seattle’s club in Arkansas tied for third in the Texas League. He went 10-10 with a 3.71 ERA. Two closers also had big seasons with Kyle Winkler (Laredo) saving 14 games in 15 opportunities in Double-A for Tampa Bay (Montgomery) and Dylan Rheault (Winnipeg and Sioux City) collecting 21 saves in 24 tries to lead the Class A California League. Rheault was at San Jose in the San Francisco organization.
Among position players, outfielder Edgar Corcino (El Paso) finished third in the Southern League batting race at .302 with six homers and 50 RBI for Chattanooga. The Minnesota farmhand also hit .224 in 20 games for Triple-A Rochester.
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 a book about his life, “The Passion of Baseball”, is available at traditional book-buying sites, or at www.WirzandAssociates.com.