On this edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective I wanted to continue to dive through all the Independent Leagues searching for those stories that need to be shared. Those stories of players who began their careers in the unknown with their future resting solely on what they can do regardless of where the diamond is.
Jared Koenig was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 35th round of the 2014 MLB June Amateur Draft from Central Arizona College. He made his MLB debut June 8, 2022 against the defending World Champion Atlanta Braves. Koenig picked up his first win on June 19 defeating the Kansas City Royals 4-0.
On paper his journey to the bigs is more or less your typical story. Late round pick toils through the minors for 5,6,7 years and finally gets his shot.
Anyone that can play at this level is top tier; best of the best. But what we haven’t heard much about is where this journey through the minors and unaffiliated ball has taken him.
He didn’t sign after getting drafted and the two years that followed was a route through Indy ball that the most knowledgeable would be proud of;
Birmingham-Boomfield Beavers, Monterey Amberjacks, Salina Stockade, San Rafael Pacifics Lake Erie Crushers. He even took the mound for the Aukland Tuatara of the Australian Baseball League.
Koenig has bucked the odds and has shown again that Independent baseball is not the end but can be a beginning. Of course you have to have talent. Not just anybody can lace’em up and take an obscure route to Major League Baseball.
And for those who think that his 6-5, 235lb frame is dialing up 100mph gas through the zone…you are mistaken. Koenig is eerily similar in his make-up to Denny Neagle/Mark Buehrle/Dallas Keuchel. Not a flamethrower, but a crafty guy who mixes it up around the zone keeping hitters off balance.
What did we learn today?
1. If you have talent, you’ll get noticed
2. You don’t have to throw 90 to get guys out
Till next time…
**Video provided by MLB.com and stats provided by Baseball Reference**