JD Droddy discusses players promoted from Pecos League Part 2 of 2
Part 1 of this article can be viewed
There were other former Triggers who succeeded in higher
independent leagues in 2014, including Johnny Bladel (traded
to Amarillo Sox in midseason), Chris Escobar (traded to Sioux
City of the American Association in midseason), and Frank
Florio (Triggers 2013 and the Pecos League Hitter of the Year
in 2013), who played for the Frontier League Grays in 2014.
All three finished the season with their respective teams and
all three were successful.
I know the question specifically asked about higher
independent leagues, but I must point out that three members
of the 2013 Triggers have also gone on to MLB-affiliated
teams and done well. RHP Nick Mutz and RHP Eric Yardley
played for Padres farm teams in 2014. Both spent part of they
year with the Fort Wayne Tincaps (Class A). Mutz made the
Midwestern League All-Star team. Yardley was sent to Double-
A San Antonio for a five game stint, during which he posted a
3.0 ERA in the Texas League. Nick Rodesky, who signed with
the Triggers midseason 2013 and also spent the entire 2014
regular season with the Triggers, was traded to the Phillies
after the last regular season game. He was sent to a Rookie
League, where he appeared in three games, posting a 1.5
ERA, and was then promoted to the Phillies’ Class-A affiliate in
Lakewood, NJ, where he pitched well for the remainder of the
So, all-in-all, I would say that the Triggers who have been
promoted have done pretty well after going to higher leagues.
We have some others who are going to higher leagues in 2015
(Blake May and Josh Tols going to the Kansas City T-Bones of
the American Association come to mind), whom I expect to do
very well. They are outstanding players. By the way, Tols is
currently pitching for the Adelaide Bite of the Australian
Baseball League and doing very well.
#5 Briefly talk about why teams keep coming to the
Triggers for players.
First, we recruit high quality players, who have great skill, and
who exhibit high character on and off the field. Those who
make our team and don’t exhibit both of those qualities usually
are released during Spring Training or during the regular
season. A player’s own qualifications and performance are the
primary factors in getting him promoted.
Second, I believe that most of the folks in the higher leagues
with whom I have dealt know that I will be completely honest
with them about the players. I won’t “oversell” a player. I won’t
sugarcoat anything, including character issues. I will give them
my honest assessment of the player’s abilities.
Third, it helps that we have had good teams. When, for
example, a team from the American Association is looking for
someone to fill a need, I believe they look first at successful
teams, whether that be the Triggers, Fuego, Invaders, or
Cowboys. I don’t think they look to last place teams, at least
not as a starting point. That is my opinion; I don’t have data to
back it up. But, I firmly believe that it is true.
#6 Do the Triggers/Invaders really have an upper hand on
other Pecos League Teams on getting promoted?
I don’t think there is an “upper hand” for the Triggers or
Invaders – or any other Pecos League team for that matter. As
mentioned before, the teams with the best players have the
upper hand because they have the most number of qualified
players. Those are also the teams who usually have the best
records. If White Sands makes the playoffs in 2015 and has
several players among the League leaders in pitching and
hitting, I would expect that they would send multiple players to
higher independent leagues and MLB-affiliated teams. In fact,
I believe that the Pupfish sent a couple of guys to MLB-
affiliated teams in 2014. It’s all about the players – good
players have a better chance of being promoted.
#7 What is your thoughts on 25 and under in Pecos
I have mixed feelings about it. I understand the rule because
we are an entry-level league that is primarily about opportunity.
Players in their 30s probably have reached their potential and
playing in this league doesn’t give them the opportunity to go
higher. It is probably time for them to find a different career.
However, there are circumstances when a 26 or 27 year old
still may have much to contribute to a team and even the
potential to advance, especially to a higher independent
league. The Commissioner can, when circumstances warrant
it, grant an age waiver for a player. As long as that authority is
exercised in the right circumstances (and only the right
circumstances), I think it is a good rule.
#8 There are so many winter leagues and what you take is
on the players chances are that attend the Winter Leagues?
The Frontier League hosts its own tryout that guarantees each
team draft 3 players.
Well, first I should point out that the Pecos League has scores
of pro baseball jobs available. Every player who attends the
Pecos Spring League is guaranteed to be drafted and sent to
Spring Training with one of the Pecos League teams. And a
large number of those make regular season rosters in the
Pecos League. Each year, I see several Pecos Spring League
players participating in the Pecos League All-Star game. To
my knowledge, none of the Winter leagues have anything like
that in terms of opportunity. While some of them advertise that
scouts from other leagues look for players at their Winter
league, none of them put anywhere near the number of
players in professional baseball as the Pecos Spring League.
As far as the Frontier League tryout is concerned, I must refer
back to my answer to question #3. The Frontier League is a
quality league, but it isn’t very rookie friendly. Even though the
teams may draft three players each from the Frontier League
tryout, I don’t see a lot of those players making regular season
rosters. We hear from a lot of these guys at the end of the
Frontier League Spring Training period who have been
released and are looking for a job in the Pecos League. And,
as I said before, by then there aren’t that many roster spots to
be filled by Pecos League teams.
Part 2 of this article can be viewed
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