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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

Independent Audit: Sept. 7

J.J. Cooper -Premium Content

Independent league managers don't have much of a rooting interest in whether Monterrey or Saltillo wins the crown, but they have an intense interest in finding out which teams have been knocked out. When a Mexican League team's season is over, its players are free to sign with a U.S. club for the rest of the year. And for independent league teams in pennant races, an early August pickup could be the difference between making the playoffs and sitting home.

Minors | #2006#Independent Audit

Independent Audit: Aug. 24

J.J. Cooper -Premium Content

After signing with Kalamazoo in the offseason, Ian Church has proven the Frontier League's most surprising star. The 5-foot-10, 178-pound center fielder has turned into the league's top power hitter. His 21 home runs are seven more than anyone else in the league, and three more than he had hit in the last seven seasons combined.

Minors | #2006#Independent Audit

Indy GMs Find Added Worries

J.J. Cooper -

While being the GM of a team in the affiliated minor leagues is all about ticket sales, promotions and revenues, being an independent league GM involves all those things as well as paying for worker's comp, juggling a salary cap, and being responsible for the wins and losses.

Minors | #2005#Independent Audit

Three Teams Withdraw From Northern League

J.J. Cooper -

Back in 1993, Marv Goldklang and his partners were venturing into uncharted territory. As the owners of the St. Paul Saints, they were one of six owners in the new independent Northern League, trying to prove a minor league didn't need ties to Major League Baseball to survive and thrive financially.

Minors | #2005#Independent Audit