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, they 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 organization, making it up to Double-A. In his six years with the Giants affiliates he regularly put up ERAs in the mid 1.00s 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 strike out 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 a manager at a financial institution in Northern Ontario, Canada, and he can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow the GM's Perspective on Twitter and Facebook. His full bio can be seen here.