It’s February, and big league baseball is still months away, but there are still talented free agents swimming in the pool — but teams have noticed a lack of starting and closing pitching talent there.
A check of the pool of free agents recently showed just Shane Clarke, a Cape Bretoner who has no major service, as the only available starting pitcher. Clarke last played in 2016 for the Beale AFB Wolf Pack, in the Milk League (now Short Season A level), where he accumulated a record of 3-1 in 9 starts, holding a 3.11 ERA.
In addition, while there are over 600 relievers available, only three are bona fide “closers”. Of them, only 18 year old Charles Lennox has any game experience, having pitched 20.2 innings for the Wellington Dukes in the Oceanic League at the end of 2016.
The vast majority of the remaining relief pitchers have no playing history in the Bull League, having come on the market from various amateur leagues. Some have promising scouting reports, such as Manny Meza, a 27 year old right-hander said to have great stuff, and a keen ability to hold runners well, but who only has two pitches.
Another, Eric Harvey, is a 26 year old right-hander who throws a 96 mph fastball, but whom scouts rate as a mop-up innings hurler.
With the start of college baseball next week, the attention of the GMs around the league will no doubt be fixated on the pitchers who may potentially end up in the draft pool this June, and on the international free agent list which is due to be released on March 31.