Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Former World Series Champion One of Many Still Playing in Independent League

The temperature is beginning to rise as spring turns to the dog days of summer. For some, that means heading to the beach or lake for a vacation, but for others, it’s a chance to take in some Summer baseball. Many fans have the luxury of living close enough to their favorite MLB team that they can take in multiple games a year. Other fans will make a long drive or take a short flight to watch their favorite team live. However, most fans are relegated to watching their favorite MLB team on TV or listening to them on the radio because of blackouts. This is where independent minor league baseball fills the void.

Fans fill the stands throughout the baseball season to catch a glimpse of future major leaguers. Those lucky enough to live near a Triple-A affiliate get the opportunity to take in the best baseball out there short of the major leagues. MLB stars rehab with these affiliates in front of standing-room-only crowds.

Currently, over 80 independent leagues are operating in the United States. For the large majority of baseball fans out there, this is the best option to see some future and former MLB players. Dollar-for-dollar, independent baseball games provide a unique experience distinct from affiliated leagues at a fraction of the price. Eclectic teams like the Danville Otterbots and Tupper Lake Riverpigs provide a personalized atmosphere to the local community. The Burlington Sock Puppets pay homage to the textile industry that the small North Carolina town was founded on.

Some former major leaguers now call the independent leagues home, where they continue to mesmerize fans, albeit on a smaller stage. This list of players still in independent baseball is headlined by three-time World Series champion Pablo Sandoval.

Former World Series Champion Pablo Sandoval Playing Independent Baseball

Pablo Sandoval, aka “The Panda,” last saw major league action in 2021 with the Atlanta Braves. The two-time All-Star spent twelve seasons in the majors, splitting time between the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox. Sandoval is best known as the mainstay at the hot corner for the Giants during the early 2010s. The sturdy third baseman was part of three World Series championship teams, picking up the World Series MVP in 2012.

Sandoval is still swinging the lumber, now as a Staten Island Ferry Hawkin the Atlantic League. Through 24 games, Sandoval is slashing .267/.359/.356 with two home runs and 20 runs batted in. Sandoval pitched an inning of mop-up duty against the Charleston Dirty Birds, walking two but giving up no runs.

Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier is best known for his five seasons with the New York Yankees. Frazier spent those five seasons often floating between Triple-A and the big club. The outfielder is now playing for the Charleston Dirty Birds of the Atlantic League. Through ten games, the former first-round draftee is slashing .237/.356/.421 and has one home run to his credit.

Colin Moran

Colin Moran spent parts of seven seasons in the big leagues, most notably with the Pittsburgh Pirates. During 2018 and 2019, Moran was the starting third baseman for the Buccos. Moran spent 2023 with Triple-A Tacoma and is now with the High Point Rockers. The 6’4″ infielder has played fifteen games with the Atlantic League club in 2024. Slashing .273/.339/.527, Moran has shown a lot of pop early on this May.

Delino DeShields Jr.

In 2015, Delino DeShields Jr. was picking up votes for AL Rookie of the Year. But by the end of 2021, the speedy centerfielder was out of Major League Baseball. From 2017 to 2019 DeShields was a daily outfielder for the Texas Rangers, but strikeouts plagued his career. DeShields is another Charleston Dirty Bird still putting in work. Through 23 games Delino is batting .250 and has fewer strikeouts (13) than walks (17).

Other Former MLB Players Coaching or Playing Independent Baseball

Frank Schwindel – Long Island Ducks

Gregg Zaun – Manager – Lexington Legends

Arthur Rhodes – Pitching Coach – Lexington Legends

Mat Latos – Bench Coach – South Maryland Blue Crabs

Pete Incaviglia – Manager – Cleburne Railroaders


Photo Credit: © D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message