As we end a rough season in Arizona, let's start looking at what the road ahead could look like for the Dbacks.
While A's GM Billy Beane is maybe best known for his ability in finding hidden value in players using sabermetrics, Diamondbacks Special Assistant to GM, Bill Bryk and Independent league scout Chris Carmanucci are finding value in the independent leagues. In the past few years they have signed dozens of players out of these leagues, most notably, A former pitcher turned outfielder named David Perlta.
Legitimate Independent baseball leagues such as The Frontier, American Association, Canam and Atlantic Leagues offer a high level of baseball talent. The Frontier League is the oldest and most established league which focuses on younger and less experienced players. While the Atlantic League typically offers the highest level and often times includes rosters with Former affiliate AA, AAA and Major Leaguers. While many Independent leagues have popped up in recent years, such as Pecos, Pacific Association, Ozark and North County, they are not considered legitimate professional leagues but do showcase a good level of play.
Another exciting development is the influx of players from international leagues such as the Shikoku Island and BCL leagues in Japan, or players from leagues in Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada.
I first met Chris Treibt in 2012 at a showcase league on the West Coast. A very unassuming, polite, aw gee shucks kid from Oklahoma. Almost too nice for baseball, but soon I realized that the guy could compete. While he had a long way to go he definately had the desire, heart, baeball IQ and work ethic to get there. After bouncing around some good and not so good independent teams, Chris landed in the Atlantic League finishing the season with the Sugarland Skeeters. You may remember the Skeeters name because it is the team Roger Clemens pitched for just a few years ago. Chris Treibt has a firm grasp and control as a sidearm submarine pitcher. A unique arm angle that can be almost unhittable if done correctly. With the skeeters Chris had 3 outing allowing 0 hits, 0 runs and only 2 BB. I have now watched Chris progress for almost 4 years and watched him mature and grow into a strong and smart pitcher who could be an assett on the mound in Arizona.
It was 2012 that would take me on one of the greatest trips of my life. I helped train and then joined Zak Colby, Jared Power and Alex Sunderland in a showcase scouting league in Shikoku Japan hosted by the Kochi Fighting dogs. Jun Kitakomi and the Kochi staff were so good to us and we were grateful to be apart of this opportunity. At the time, we did not know that soon Zak Colby would be a first round pick and a household name playing for the Ehime Mandarin Pirates. Zak was an All American and college World Series Champion catcher at Faulker University in Alabama. After not being drafted, I discussed options with Zak which ultimately led to Japan. After two years in Japan, Zak is a utility corner infielder/catcher, an ALL Star and Grand Championship MVP. With NPB big league teams in Japan watching closely, Zak might just as well be the next piece of the puzzle to help a system like the Diamondbcks.
follow Jason Rutherford on Twitter @dbacksonscout