Arizona Diamondbacks sign a Beach Bum

01/31/2014 5:30 AM - Devo

Johnny Omahen.jpgThe Arizona Diamondbacks have signed Traverse City Beach Bum right-handed pitcher Johnny Omahen, according to the Beach Bums' website.

Omahen is coming off of a very solid first year in independent baseball. In 21 starts, he went 8-9 with a 3.37 ERA. His 115 innings pitched are a personal best. To go along with his 78 strikeouts, also a personal best, Omahen only surrendered two home runs (.02 HR/9).

Originally drafted by the by the Florida Marlins in the 35th round of the 2011 MLB June Amateur Draft from NAIA California State University San Marcos, Omahen spent two years in the Marlins minor league system winning five games. He struck out 70 over 108 innings, finishing with a respectable 4.00 ERA.

His coming out party came after being released by the Marlins in 2013.

It really wasn't a surprise that Omahen put up these impressive numbers with the Beach Bums. His time at Cal State was where he first began to raise eyebrows. After only appearing in seven innings in 2010, he started seven games for the Cougars in 2011, going 7-1 with 48 strikeouts in 54 innings. 

That success immediately transferred over to the professional game. In his first years with the Gulf Coast League Marlins and Jupiter Hammerheads, he went 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA in 41.2 innings while giving up one home run. After an unimpressive 2012 with Greensboro (1-5, 5.24), he bounced back to form with the Beach Bums.

Other people could have given up and taken this as a negative, but Beach Bums COO John Wuerfel is happy his talent has been identified.

"While it's tough to lose a pitcher of Johnny's caliber", said Beach Bums COO John Wuerfel, "we are pleased to see his ability recognized. He's a first class young man."

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.

Indy Ball Weekly Perspective, January 26, 2014

01/27/2014 5:57 AM - Devo

DEVONTEEPLEINDYPERSPECTIVE.jpgWelcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective

  • The Sugar Land Skeeters and manager Gary Gaetti have come terms on a three-year contract extension, according to the Skeeters' website. Gaetti has been with the Skeeters since the beginning (2011). He took them to the playoffs for the first time last year on route to an Atlantic League record 95-win season. Gaetti has been part of the game for a long time, 20 years to be exact. During those 20 big league seasons, he hit 360 home runs, drove in 1,341 and was an integral part of the 1987 World Series champion Minnesota Twins. Even with all the history and all the places he's been, he's doing what he loves to and couldn't ask for a better community to do it in. "I’m doing exactly what I want to do and I’m so grateful to Opening Day Partners and the Skeeters organization for having me. I’ve lived in a lot of different cities throughout my career and I just love this community. I’m looking at what they call the best of the minor leagues. This is as good as it gets."
  • The Schaumburg Boomers banner year continues. After winning the 2013 Frontier League Championship, and being named Organization of the Year, numbertamer.com has the Boomers as the eighth fastest growing team in professional baseball. Fastest growing considers account revenue, corporate sponsorship, and revenue from outside events. Since the Boomers replaced the now defunct Schaumburg Flyers, and took possession of a stadium that was left vacant for 18 months before they moved in, how could you not be ecstatic about the future. Boomers owner, Patrick Salvi, should be commended on the job he has done to revitalize baseball in the community. It's not as if Salvi is any stranger to success. He is also the owner of the Gary SouthShore RailCats, 2013 American Association Champions.

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.

Interview with former first-round pick Boof Bonser

01/24/2014 5:16 AM - Devo

Boof Bonser.jpgBoof Bonser was a first-round pick (21st overall) by the San Francisco Giants in the 2000 amateur draft. Bonser has played over 13 years, including four at the major league level.

Since 2000, Bonser has spent time with multiple organizations including the Giants, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, New York Mets and the Cleveland Indians. Recently he spent time in Taiwan with the President 7-Eleven Lions. Tossing over 400 innings in 60 starts, Bonser won 19 games and struck out 334 hitters.

People see the statistics and are entitled to their own opinion, but when you look at the overall body of work, you realize just how talented they really are.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Mr. Bonser who discusses his draft year, trade specifics, what makes certain players so special, and the experience of playing overseas.

The GM’s Perspective: As a first-round pick in 2000 by the San Francisco Giants, can you briefly describe the process? 

Boof Bonser: The day of the draft I had my family over watching the ticker just like everyone else. You’re waiting and wondering! The phone rings and it’s the Giants letting me know they selected me with their first pick. They sent down a scout and the rest of their people, started the negotiating process, and the next thing you know I was a Giant.

GMs: Not many get to be a first-round draft pick. As you know, I played a little independent baseball via a small school in Nebraska (York College). To even think about what guys like you have done, and how good you actually are, to be in that position is really something special when you think about it.

Saying that, you have all those so-called experts out there who claim that "so-and-so didn’t’ meet expectations"…to get where you have gone is a feat within itself.

GMs: In 2003, you were traded with Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan to the Minnesota Twins for A.J. Pierzynski and cash. What’s that like when you’ve been with one team your whole career, they draft you #1, and decide to trade you? Do you view it as a motivator to prove them wrong or is it a business decision that has to be made?

Boof Bonser 3.jpg

BB: For me it was weird because I was a first-round pick with the Giants. I started thinking “did I do something wrong”? Why would they get rid of me are thoughts going through your head. It is what it is. I went over to Minnesota and they were great to me. They gave me my first shot at the big leagues, and what a great organization they are.

It turned out to be one of the craziest trades in Giants history. It was a good opportunity. I went to a new team and did some great things.

GMs: For those that didn’t play the game and aren’t used to what’s involved, what’s the most difficult thing you experienced during your four major league seasons?

BB: The expectations. Major League ballplayers can’t really fail. You have to work so hard to be perfect. You never want to go back to the minor leagues, obviously it's not fun after you get a taste of the bigs. Once you hit the top, you want to work as hard as you can and hopefully be one of the fortunate ones that spend ten years plus up there.

GMs: For what you’ve accomplished, it's very impressive. I played for a short time in the Frontier League, but what you’ve done, some don’t or can’t recognize how very difficult it is to do? What do you say to the people out there that can’t see the difference?

BB: That’s a good question. To be honest, I don’t know. I got to the big leagues; obviously I want to go back. I want my ten plus years. If it doesn’t happen, you can’t say I didn’t try. I’ve spent 13 years playing baseball. It’s a game I love, and no one can take that away from me. I did what I love to do.

GMs: I wasn’t as gifted as you. I played two months in the Frontier League, but it was my dream and I got to do it. Like you said, absolutely no one can take that away from me.

If I wasn’t 5’10 and 180lbs, maybe things would have been different. I did go to a small school; York College, and going there was the best thing I could have ever done. You can be a big fish in a small pond, but one you sign that professional contract you understand that it’s a business. Every kid has had the same dream, and plenty out there are just as talented or more than you could ever be. It’s a numbers game, and opens your eyes to a whole new world.

BB: Absolutely, you couldn’t have said it any better. That’s spot on.

GMs: You’ve been a number one pick and pitched in the postseason. What separates you from a player an independent player or a MLB veteran like Mark Buehrle or CY Young winner Felix Hernandez? How narrow is that talent margin?

BB: Their talent is at a whole other level. Some have that electric arm; they study hitter’s everyday and pick up everything so fast. That’s why they’re the best in the game. There’s a reason why they have been successful for so long. There’s no coincidence’s in the game of baseball.

GMs: On a side note, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas have been inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame. I don’t understand how Greg Maddux, arguably the best pitcher ever, gets 97 percent of the vote. Who’s not voting for him?

BB: There’s always that doesn’t vote for them, I never understood that. I still look at Cal Ripken Jr./Tony Gwynn. There was what, a handful of voters that didn’t vote for them. Why aren’t those guys 100 percent? I just don’t understand it.

GMs: Over the last couple years you have spent time in the Mets, Giants and Indians organizations spending a lot of time in Triple A, last pitching in the big leagues in 2010. The Indians released you in August of 2013, eventually leading to a brand new opportunity with the President 7-Eleven Lions in Taiwan. What was that like?

Boof Bonser 4.jpg

BB: To be honest with you, it was great. I’ve always thought about going overseas to play, and I got my opportunity. I thought I did pretty good. I’m actually still trying to sign something to go back over there and play.

GMs: Was it difficult competing in a completely new league and environment?

BB: The first couple weeks you spend a lot of time adjusting, meeting your teammates and coaches. The language barrier takes a bit to get used to. Once everyone spends some time together, the expectation is to win. We had a fun.

GMs: Are you back with the Lions in 2014?

BB: If it’s not with the Lions, I’m hoping that one of three other teams gives me a shot.

GMs: Any possibility of coming back to North America?

BB: I would love too, but I haven’t had calls as of yet. I don’t know if I will? My options are open that’s for sure. I would never rule out anything.

GMs: What are you’re plans when you’re finished playing?

BB: I would like to coach. Just being around some of the younger guys, and helping develop them in Spring Training.

GMs: You have the experience and have seen the peaks and valleys. The younger guys coming up think they’re bulletproof. At that point, you'd be in a different stage of your career allowing you to assist with things they may not expect.

BB: Exactly, that’s what I would love to do.

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.

Indy Ball Weekly Perspective, January 19, 2014

01/20/2014 5:07 AM - Devo

DEVONTEEPLEINDYPERSPECTIVE.jpgWelcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective

  • The Sioux City Explorers announced that the San Francisco Giants have purchased the contract of outfielder Tyler Graham. Graham was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 19th round of the 2006 MLB June Amateur Draft from Oregon State University. His best season came in 2010 as a member of the Triple A Fresno Grizzlies when he hit .343 with 34 RBI and 35 stolen bases in 109 games. In 2013, Graham played for four different teams. From Veracruz of the Mexican League to three American Association teams, he managed to put together a solid season. In 101 games, he batted .286 (nine points over his career average), while driving in 26 and stealing 36 bases.
  • Lincoln Salt Dogs power hitting infielder Curt Smith has had his contract sold to the St. Louis Cardinals, according to the Salt Dogs press release. Smith has become quite a sensation on the world stage. In 2011, he helped the Netherlands go 11-1 on their way to defeating Cuba in the World Cup championship final. Smith earned MVP honours after batting .351 with three home runs and 13 RBI. In the 2013 World Baseball Classic, Smith and his .321 average helped lead his country to the semi-finals.  After spending the last three years in the American Association, Smith has made a big enough impression to return to the team that originally drafted him in the 39th round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft from University of Maine at Orono.

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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