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A Learning Experience

J.J. Cooper -

Harlingen's Kenny Evoniuk has one of the best arms in the United League. What he doesn't have is experience pitching. But his 91-92 mph velocity could make him an interesting prospect if he can clean up his delivery and improve his hard slider.

Minors | #2008#Independent Audit

Learning In Lincoln

J.J. Cooper -

When righthander Jason Jarvis arrived in Lincoln, he brought with him a couple of suitcases, a glove and a whole lot of baggage. There have been questions about his maturity and his decision-making that have followed him since his high school career. It's not possible to say that all of the makeup questions that surrounded him are behind him after just a couple of weeks with the American Association's Saltdogs, but there are signs that the professional life suits Jarvis pretty well.

Minors | #2008#Independent Audit

Upping The Ante

J.J. Cooper -Premium Content

This July, it counts. Usually independent league all-star games are rather tepid affairs, most notable for bringing most of the league's best players together as a one-stop shop for affiliated baseball scouts. But league bragging rights will be in play on July 15 when the United League's all-stars play host to the Golden League's best at San Angelo's ballpark.

Minors | #2008#Independent Audit

Needles In The Haystack

J.J. Cooper -

Feel like playing the odds? You can go put a dollar down on a Powerball ticket, or you can try to make the jump from independent baseball to the major leagues. There may be nothing more inspiring than Chris Coste's story. Undrafted out of college as a third baseman, he went to the Northern League, where Fargo-Moorhead manager Doug Simunic helped make him a catcher. After five years in independent ball, he made it to affiliated ball. After six more years in the minor leagues, he got the call to Philadelphia, where he's now in his third year as a catcher for the Phillies. He carries a career average of .314 in 363 major league at-bats, so it's clear that he's a case of a true talent who had been overlooked. It's a great story, but it's also about as rare as a big league knuckleballer.

Minors | #2008#Independent Audit