Although this is the first ball of the year here at RAP, as noted in many of the player signing write-ups over the past couple of months, there certainly is a common thread - Winter ball.
Both the California Winter League (CWL) and the Arizona Winter League (AWL) are touting themselves as the stepping stone to professional baseball, and rightly so. Both leagues had tremendous success this year developing players and providing them with the opportunity to be seen and scouted by professional teams. As Spring Training begins this week, the CWL is boasting that 50% of their players (60+) were signed to professional spring training invites. The AWL lists a comparable 55 players offered contracts.
The Golden League (including our own Seals) are a large consumer of winter ball talent. Other leagues contracting players include the Continental, Frontier, Northern, and United League. Teams in Mexico, Germany, and Japan also picked up players from winter ball.
These development leagues have proven to be an important first step for many players this year. And you thought it was all about the tan...
Seal Blubber Bits
- The Seals signed ex-major league pitcher Phil Barzilla to a contract on April 8th, but he turned around and signed with the Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz of the (AAA) Mexican League recently. The Mexican League, which is also the temporary home of ex-Seal Isaac Hess, is obviously a step up in competition and pay rate. With the loss of Barzilla, the Seals are down to two pitchers with big-league experience (Brandon Villafuerte and Jason Kershner). Of course, that's two more than they had last year...
- The Chico Outlaws are holding a press conference on Friday afternoon to introduce 18-year-old female knuckleball pitcher Eri Yoshida to the media.