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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

2006 Independent Leagues Top Prospects

J.J. Cooper -

Readers of Baseball America know we are always looking to uncover prospects, wherever we can find them. So, naturally, we've extended that search to the independent leagues. The following is a list of players who stood out for their potential to make it to—or back to—affiliated ball, with the potential to raise some eyebrows if they get the chance. The opinions of independent league managers helped shape this effort.

Minors | #2006#Independent Audit