So, we had a lot of fun this past off season marveling at the out of left field signings by the Warehouse. A Buddy Sosnoskie here, a Logan Mahon there and so forth, but here we are in May. Many of the players signed in those heady days are now gone, though a hearty handful keeps the dream alive for their forgotten brothers in arms. Shall we check in on the remnants of the Badger Brigade?
Tom Boleska (RP): Sort of a tweener in that, while he played in the indy leagues in 2012, he was signed by the Twins at the end of the season, was left unprotected and was a Rule 5 draft candidate this year. He has pitched out of Bowie so far and struck out 17 batters in 17 innings. Unfortunately, he has also walked 12. The 26 year old righty has a 4.24 ERA and a 3.49 FIP.
Marcel Prado (RP): The 25 year old Venezuelan has acquitted himself well in his first affiliated ball action since 2009. He's struck out 19, walked 6 and allowed one home run in 19.2 innings handling closing duties for the Keys. His ERA sits at 3.20 and his FIP is a solid 3.00.
Zane Chavez (C/DH): After turning down the Royals following his selection in the 19th round of the 2005 draft, Chavez played college ball at Indiana State University and also at Palomar JC (Brenden Webb's alma mater). This is Chavez's first crack at affiliated ball and he's performed well. It should be noted, though, that Chavez is 26 and probably should be handling Carolina League pitching well. Nonetheless, he's slashing at a .295/.420/.429 clip for the Keys, good for a .395 wOBA and 145 wRC+. Chavez also has a CS of 29%, which compares favorably to his career 34% from the indy leagues.
Tucker Nathans (UTIL): A veteran of Fred Ferreira's Xtremeline Baseball Academy, Nathans is the youngest of the bunch (he'll be 25 in November). He's played in 20 games for the Shorebirds and logged time at 2B, SS, 3B, RF, LF and DH while being charged with only one error (he's only played two games at DH). Of hitters in the Sally League that have made at least 80 plate appearances, he ranks in the top 25 in wOBA (.389) and wRC+ (138), though only two players above him are his age or older.
While, of course, it's fun to root for these guys, they face long odds of making the show. It's not unheard of, though (see: Kevin Millar, George Sherrill).