Baltimore Orioles sign former San Francisco Giants prospect David Quinowski

12/30/2012 7:24 AM - Devo

David Quinowski.jpg

The American Association is quite popular these days. And the Baltimore Orioles are sure taking advantage of it. 

A couple weeks ago they signed Sioux Falls Pheasants reliever extraordinaire Kyle Mertins, now according to an American Association press release, have purchased the contract of LHP David Quinowski from the Lincoln Saltdogs. 

Quinowski is no stranger to this game that’s for sure. 

According to Baseball Reference, he was “signed in 46th round of the 2004 MLB June Amateur Draft from Redlands HS (Redlands, CA)”. 

Over the course of his seven-year professional career, he spent all but one with the San Francisco Giants making it up to AA. In his six years with the Giants affiliates he regularly put up ERA’s in the mid 1.00’s, and never had it creep past 3.64. 

Quinowski’s first year in Independent ball wasn’t what you could call memorable. He spent time with three teams and posted the highest ERA of his professional career (4.43). He did strikeout nearly one batter per inning while allowing only 34 hits in 40 innings. 

What seems to be a recurring theme with all the Independent League signings-including Mike Benacka, who had his contract recently purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays (previously reported by The GM’s Perspective)-is that they all have high strikeout totals relative to their innings pitched. Benacka struck out more than 15 batters per nine innings in 2012, while Quinowski has a career strikeout ratio of 9.4 SO/9 (statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference). 

I’ve said it previously, but these signings aren’t the biggest headline makers we’ve seen-the Toronto Blue Jays have that one covered-but somewhere down the line these players get lost in the shuffle and they become expendable. 

No one can question the heart of these players. People may comment and make snide remarks claiming that there is no reason to get excited about an Independent player getting a spring training roster invite, but sometimes it’s the diamonds in the rough that make the biggest impact.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

 

Toronto Blue Jays sign Laredo Lemurs strikeout artist Mike Benacka

12/29/2012 8:30 AM - Devo

Mike Benacka.jpgThe Toronto Blue Jays have shown once again that it doesn’t have to be a blockbuster deal to raise some eyebrows. 

With the game and its global reach, it knows no limit to where it can find talent, and according to the American Association, the Jays have signed Laredo Lemur’s closer Mike Benacka.  Last week the Jays signed Quebec Capitales lefty-speciality Tony Davis

Benacka 30, has spent the majority of his professional career in the Oakland A’s organization (2008-2011). Over the course of his six professional seasons, three of which were Independent, Benacka has appeared in over 240 games and saved 56 in including 12 as the Lemur’s closer. His ERA sits at an even 3.00 and his overall record is 22-13. But the Pièce de résistance: 12.3 SO/9, including 15.7 SO/9 while in Laredo this year. (Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference). 

While playing for the York Revolution and Lemurs in 2012, Benacka appeared in 49 games recording 13 saves. He surrendered only 36 hits in 59 innings and struck out and eye popping 98 batters. 

More than likely he will begin the season in AA, whether or not he makes it up to Toronto is another story. With the superb pitching staff and bullpen the Jays have it’s going to be a tough nut to crack, but will every appearance is an audition. And if he pitches like he did in Laredo it won’t just be the Jays looking to use his services. 

They Jays have signed two Independent pitchers in the last two weeks and might not be the last. The American Association has reported that Benacka was the fourth Laredo player signed by a Major League organization this year; 

Chris Murrill to Tampa Bay, Chaz Roe and Matt Way to Arizona” 

 Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

Barry Bonds is a first ballot Hall of Famer

12/26/2012 12:13 AM - Devo

Barry Bonds 6.jpg

I am not telling anyone anything they don’t already know. Barry Bonds was a Hall of Famer before the steroids issue and he is a Hall of Famer after the steroid issue. 

The Hall of Fame should be the home to the best baseball players that have ever lived. And if that’s the case, Barry Bonds is a lock. 

We’re all aware that his numbers increased when there should have been a decline, and despite what he did or didn’t do, the numbers are astonishing-ranking in the top 10 of every major category (courtesy of MLB.com). 

762 Home Runs - #1
2558 BB - #1
688 IBB - #1
1440 Extra Base Hits - #2
1996 RBI - #3
2227 Runs - #3
1.051 OPS - #4 (.444 OBP/.607 SLG)
8 Gold Gloves
7 MVP’s 

Am I saying that I condone steroids or performance enhancers; no, but what I am saying is that the players in the alleged “steroid” era are the best of their generation and keeping them out of the Hall of Fame is a disgrace to the game. 

Did Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa make 1998 one of the best seasons ever? Of course they did. Did they not literally save the game when fans were disgusted at what happened with the strike? Of course they did. We were all glued to every single one of their at-bats watching history in the making. 

Remember that Major League Baseball was not testing and not suspending players for using enhancers, and Major League Baseball has not wiped away any of their records since all this was brought to the forefront. 

However, since testing came about, suspensions have occurred and countless big time names have been reprimanded; Rafael Palmeiro, Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera to name a few. 

Now with all the naysayers proclaiming that these players shouldn’t be allowed in, where were you when home runs were being hit out in record numbers? Media, players, coaches, managers, and GM’s all looked the other way or had no idea while they cheered on for the home run with the rest of us.

If you were onboard in the late 90’s, you’re on board now. 

Was it right what these players did? Of course not, but that does not mean they’re not the best the game has ever seen? 

Bonds still had to hit the ball. And considering that he got maybe, one pitch at best to hit an at-bat, I say he deserves a lot of credit for that. 

It’s disgusting in my opinion if Bonds does not get in on the first ballot. What is keeping him out for two, three, or four years going to prove? And considering there are players in the Hall of Fame that were worse human beings than him, makes this a no-brainer. 

Bonds, Sosa, McGwire, Palmeiro, and the rest all had to go on the field everyday and produce. They were the best of their time and everybody knew it. Despite being pitched around, dealing with speciality roles, and facing the best pitching the game has ever seen, they still dominated the game and made it look very easy. 

Barry Bonds is the greatest player this game has ever seen and he should be giving its highest honour.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

Toronto Blue Jays purchase Tony Davis from the Quebec Capitales

12/23/2012 3:27 AM - Devo

Tony Davis.jpgThis isn’t the blockbuster deal you have become used to from the Toronto Blue Jays, but it’s one that could have a serious impact down the road. 

Specialists out of the bullpen are not very highly regarded by the press or the fans but to a team in contention they are as valuable as anyone in the clubhouse. 

Tony Davis, a left-handed reliever with the Quebec Capitales of the Independent Can-Am League, was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays, according to the Globe and Mail this past Friday. 

Davis has spent four years in professional baseball, the majority of that with the Minnesota Twins organization. During that time he made it as high as AA and put up some impressive numbers along the way. 

In 112 games his ERA stands at 3.58 in 161 innings, struck out 139 and picked up 11 wins to go with seven losses. He does appears to have some control problems, giving up 5.1 walks per/9 but his time in Quebec saw that number nearly cut in half to 3.1 per/9 (thanks again to baseballreference.com for the statistics).

Even when pitching in the Independent Leagues, when you put up numbers like a 1.06 ERA in 20 games and strikeout 16 in 17 innings someone is bound to take notice. At 24, Davis still has many years left to become that LOOGY every team needs and a 2.51 ERA in 44 appearances with the Twins AA teams prove it. 

The Indy Leagues are becoming a serious resource for MLB teams as evidenced by recent signings such as Kyle Mertins (previously reported by The GM’s Perspective) and it definitely won’t be the last. 

Let this be a reminder to those still living the dream. A release or a demotion isn’t the worst thing in the world. Indy ball could be that new beginning you are looking for. Davis and Mertins are prime examples of that.

Devon is the Founder and Executive Director of The GM's Perspective. He is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies. Currently, Devon is a Manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario Canada, and can be reached at devon@thegmsperspective.com. You can follow The GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.

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