Tosoni looking to help Skeeters repeat
02/26/2017 8:25 AM - Devo
After helping lead the Skeeters to their first Atlantic League Championship, Rene Tosoni is returning to help them retain their title.
It's no surprise that I'm a big supporter of Independent baseball, and when a fellow Canadian is laying it all on the line, it makes it even better.
I interviewed Tosoni, a couple years back, and talked about everything from his MLB debut, the long grueling struggle of the minors, injuries that everyone goes through, and his experience representing Team Canada at international competitions around the world. Needless to say, he's a consummate professional. And after 10 years in the game, he's still putting up great numbers regardless of where he puts on his spikes.
2016 was second stint with the Skeeters and was arguably his best all-around season. He batted .301 (a career high), slugged .483 (also a career high) and proved to be one heck of a weapon. In addition to his skill frustrating catchers (14 stolen bases without getting thrown out), he belted seven home runs and drove in 41.
The icing on the cake was his 12 triples which led the league and set a new Skeeters record. Now, 12 triples is no joke. It takes a dynamic set of abilities to be able to drive the ball where they ain't, but also have the speed and stamina to leg them out.
Photo couretesy Fort Bend Star
Tosoni has the attributes to be productive year after year and prove to be one of the many Canadians in the game to continually make an impact. Until the Indy season starts, he'll suit up again for Team Canada at the World Baseball Classic in less than two weeks, something I know he's very proud of.
Nothing but compliments for the Arizona Winter League
02/17/2017 1:46 PM - Devo
Undying love for the game. The never-ending passion to do what you love...
The Arizona Winter League is a short-season independent winter professional baseball league consisting of four teams (Team Canada, Yuma Tejanos, Edmonton Capitals, Laredo Apaches). In a little over one month, each team will play 14-18 games.
The entire purpose of the AWL is to get players to the next level. Since 1997, scouts from Atlantic League, American Association, Frontier League, Can-Am League, Liga de Mexico, and MLB have been signed to professional contracts. So far, World Series champion, Sergio Romo and ex-Toronto Blue Jay, Scott Richmond are the only two to make it to the big leagues.
In short, odds on achieving ultimate success with the Independent route is extremely tough, but that doesn't mean it's not worth it. Very few see the success of Romo and Richmond, but to have a chance to be seen is what the AWL is all about. Their site has a great comment section from current and former players detailing their experiences that you can see here. I've listed a few below;
Two years ago, I would have never dreamed of all of the amazing opportunities that have come to me because of my decision to attend the Arizona Winter League. At first, I was very skeptical because of the cost. However, I can tell you that you are taking absolutely no risk in attending the AWL. This is THE BEST place to go for your career. I have attended other leagues that were also a fun experience, but if you really want to take your career to the next level, you will get the opportunity at the AWL. You will be seen by great managers, greatly improve, gain a ton of lifelong friends, and likely be called upon to play professional baseball during the 2015 season. If you are unsure of where your talent fits in, the AWL will give you a great gauge of where you are and how to reach the next level. Jose Melendez has been like a member of my family in his generosity, kindness, honesty, and doing whatever it takes to get me a chance to play. I have been given the opportunity to pitch for a championship club during the playoff stretch and in the playoffs with the Edinburg Roadrunners in 2013, continued to learn from a great manager, Ozzie Canseco, during 2014 with the Brownsville Charros, and now I am playing and coaching in Melbourne, Australia with many currently affiliated players including a Major League shortstop playing defense behind me. All of this is only because of my decision to attend the Arizona Winter League. GO FOR IT!
The Arizona Summer League really helped me get to where I am today with my professional baseball career. I didn't have much luck with the draft coming out of college and after 2 weeks of playing in the ASL I signed a contract with the Rio Grande Valley Whitewings and helped them win a United Baseball League Championship. The coaches and Jose really did their best to get my name exposed to coaches around the league which I greatly appreciate. I met some great friends that I to this day still stay in touch with and had so many great memories. For any players that are unsure about doing this I will tell you that it is worth it! If you have the ability, the work ethic and the desire then the ASL/AWL is worth it! I recently just signed a contract to play in the American Association to play with the Winnipeg Goldeyes and if I didn't come to the ASL then I wouldn't be where I am today. Chase your dream!
Chase your dreams, never give up, and never let anyone tell you you can't do something. The opportunities are out there if you want to dig deep and prove the naysayers wrong.
Southwest League of Professional Baseball ready for 2018
02/08/2017 1:16 PM - Devo
It's a little premature, but the Southwest League of Professional Baseball has announced its set to begin in April of 2018. According to the league's website, president Mark Schuster said the league will feature a 112 game schedule.
Schuster, a managing partner of Ventura Sports, has been in the game a long time and has had his hand in the operations and ownership of many minor league teams. His plan to expand quickly is something he's very excited about. And why not? The future holds a planned multi-purpose venue that will also host sporting events beside minor league baseball.
“We have some tremendous markets that are excited about building new multi-purpose venues that will play host to minor league baseball and a myriad of other events. We will be introducing the cities over the coming weeks and months,” said Schuster.
“We’re thrilled to be moving into markets that are currently underserved.” Our commitment to our community partners is to enhance the quality of life by providing affordable family entertainment year round.”
With eight Indy leagues in existence (add on three winter leagues), including staples like the Atlantic League, American Association, Can-Am League and Frontier, the ninth and newest of the bunch will have a lot of work to do. Success in Independent baseball is very rare. Nearly 30 have tried before.
Currently, the first team to suit up will be the Waco BlueCats. The name was chosen after 1,800 submissions were sent in by participants. It's unclear how many teams will be formed, but each SWL team will be announced shortly and the names will selected through "name the team" contests.
The odds are definitely not in their favour, but I wish them nothing best the best. And for the fans lucky enough to get a team, I'm confident they'll have fun with it. Heck, it's baseball, how can you not?