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2015: Major Leaguers In The Minors #2

(originally written 9/24/15)

  • Shaun Marcum, P, 34: Excluding a 2009 lost to injury, Marcum averaged about 12 wins per year 2007-11 for the Blue Jays and Brewers. But he went 1-10 in 2013 and sat out 2014 (shoulder surgery). Marcum got some midseason run with the Indians this year but has mostly worn the uniform of AAA Columbus.

  • Mike McCoy, UT, 34: McCoy spent much of 2010-12 with the Blue Jays, including 80 games in 2011. However, in none of those years did he get off the interstate—a.k.a. bat .200—and no promotions to the majors have followed. Currently with El Paso (Padres), as a #34 pick McCoy beat the odds by getting any shot at all.

  • Evan Meek, RP, 32: He was, for a period, among the game's top setup men and even earned an All-Star nod in 2010 as a member of the Pirates. But since tearing his labrum in '11, Meek hasn't been quite the same and has spent most of the past four seasons in AAA, including this year in Syracuse (Washington). Last in MLB 2014; AAA-exclusive in 2015.

  • Adam Moore, C, 31: Moore opened and closed  2010 with the Mariners (sandwiched around a long DL stint), batting .195 in 202 AB. Then he blew out his knee in early 2011 and has been relegated almost exclusively to minors duty since—totaling but 41 MLB plate appearances between Seattle, Kansas City and San Diego 2011-14. Moore spent 2015 with AAA Columbus (Indians).

  • Scott Moore, UT, 31: The 8th overall pick in 2002 (Tigers), the slugging Moore reached the bigs in 2006 with the Cubs, but thru 2010 had accumulated only 80 major-league games, with a .223 average and seven homers. But he stuck around for 72 games with the 2012 Astros alone—a slight step above the minors—homering nine times in 209 at-bats. He hasn't returned to MLB since, spending the entirety of the past two seasons with AAA Memphis (Cardinals) until a May 2015 release. 

  • Chris Nelson, IF, 29: This former #9 overall pick got a lot of run at 3B for the 2012 Rockies; he hit .301 with 9 homers in 111 games despite wrist and heart issues. But Nolan Arenado rendered him expendable the following May, and since then Nelson's bags have stayed packed. In fact, Nelson played for three organizations in 2015 alone, having been signed to AAA Syracuse (Nationals) in late June. Last in MLB 2014.

  • Jayson Nix, IF, 33: Laynce's little bro has only spent one full season (2010) in the majors, but has gotten into 466 contests with eight teams since 2008—most notably with the White Sox and Yankees. In fact, Nix amassed 303 PA's with the '13 Yankees filling in for injured stars Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez, batting .236. Since then, Nix has mostly been in AAA; this season has been split between Norfolk (Orioles) and Lehigh Valley (Phillies).

  • Jordan Norberto, RP, 28: This left-hander posted a 2.77 ERA in 39 games with the surprising 2012 Oakland Athletics (sandwiched around two DL stints...but hasn't sniffed the majors since, as he underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013. This year, Norberto is working his way back with AAA Durham (Rays).

  • Pete Orr, 2B, 36: Orr was almost exclusively a PH/defensive sub for the 2005-06 Braves, averaging 107 games. He also has gotten run with the Nats (2008-09) and Phillies (2011-13), but hasn't spent a full season in the majors since his Atlanta days. Orr has spent the past two seasons in AAA—this one with Colorado Springs (Brewers). 

  • Felipe Paulino, P, 32 : Hard-throwing Paulino—whose stuff was once described as "electric" by Ned Yost—went 8-30 over 81 games (51 starts) for the Astros, Rockies and Royals 2009-11; most recently he put up one decent start, then three ugly ones (WHIP just under 3) for the 2014 White Sox, with whom he'd won a roster spot in Spring after recovering from Tommy John and cyst surgeries. In 2015 Paulino made 20 starts for AAA Iowa (Cubs) with no MLB call-up.

  • Ramiro Pena, IF, 30: As a rookie, Pena was a reserve infielder for the 2009 World Champion Yankees, and remained on their roster thru 2010 before being shuttled back and forth to AAA. Ultimately, Pena moved on to the Braves for 131 more games 2013-14. He spent all of 2015 with El Paso (Padres).

  • Humberto Quintero, C, 35: The longtime Astros backup catcher (2005-11) has been up and down between MLB and MiLB since leaving Houston; he accepted a minor league assignment to AAA Pawtucket as insurance for the Red Sox catchers. Last in majors 2014.

  • Guillermo Quiroz, C, 33: I'm forever confusing him with Humberto Quintero. Rozy has been around the bigs since 2004; my lasting memory of him is his walk-off homer for the Giants against the Dodgers two years ago. Over 10 MLB seasons Quiroz has played exactly 148 games—he's like the cashier at Monk's on Seinfeld; she''s their most-used recurring character, but speaks like 10 lines that whole time. Last in majors 2014; AAA-exclusive for Sacramento (Giants) in 2015. Update: Quiroz was released in July.

  • Cody Ransom, IF, 39: Ransom spent parts of four seasons with the Giants (114 games), two in Japan, then got run for seven other MLB teams (none for more than 64 games) including the late 00's Yankees. Lifetime, he's a .213 hitter with 30 bombs—11 in 2012 alone. Ransom has spent all of 2015 with Reno (Diamondbacks). Thru 8/10 he's hit five of his 217 career MiLB home runs. Last in majors 2013.

  • Clay Rapada, RP, 34: Rapada beat around the majors 2007-13, appearing 72 times for the 2012 Yankees as a specialist (38.1 IP). Still, he didn't make the 2013 Indians roster, and has only four (scoreless) MLB appearances since his Yankee stint. All of Rapada's 2015 run was with AAA Sacramento (Giants). Last in majors 2013.

  • Scott Rice, RP, 33: Rice made the majors at 31, made 73 relief appearances for the 2013 Mets, but wasn't effective the next year and has been in AAA since. He has done well for Las Vegas in 2015, but the Mets haven't summoned him back.

  • Ryan Roberts, IF/OF, 35: A second baseman by trade, Roberts played a lot for the 2009-12 Diamondbacks and Rays, getting in 143 games in both 2011-12 all over the field. Known as much for his bevy of tattoos as for his on-field achievements, Roberts hit 19 home runs in 2011, but has been demoted to the minors many times since—he spent all of 2015 with AAA Nashville (Athletics).

  • Dan Runzler, RP, 30:  The Giants lefty was pretty good for a while back in 2009-10, but control problems and Javier Lopez' addition obviated the lefty over time. Though long outrighted off the 40-man roster, the 30-year-old remained in the Giants chain thru 2014 but never called up after 2012. For Reno (Diamondbacks) this year, he's posted a 2.02 WHIP in 39 games thru 8/10. Ouch.

  • Josh Satin, 1B/3B, 30: Satin was summoned many times from the minors by the Mets 2011-14; he got in 75 games with the 2013 squad and hit .279 in 190 at-bats—and an aggregate.130 the other years. The Cal alum spent all of 2015 with AAA Louisville (Reds), slugging almost 100 points beneath his lifetime .452 average.

  • Joe Saunders, P, 34: From 2008-13, Saunders averaged 31 starts and 12 wins per year with four clubs, including the Angels, for whom he was a 17-game winner and 2008 All-Star. However, he's 41-64 from 2010-14, and in his last full season (2013) he posted a 1.6 WHIP and 5.26 ERA pitching half his games at Safeco Field (Mariners). All six of his 2015 appearances came with Tacoma (Mariners). He's since opted out of that deal and is a free agent.

  • Scott Sizemore, 3B/2B, 30: Plucked off the scrap heap by the 2011 Athletics, Sizemore was surprisingly productive (11 home runs in 93 games) before tearing his left ACL in Spring 2012—and re-tearing it in April 2013. Having played eight major league games from 2012-14, Sizemore—no relation to Grady—split 2015 between New Orleans (Marlins) and Syracuse (Nationals), both AAA.

  • Greg Smith, P, 32: As a rookie, Smith—acquired by Oakland from Arizona for Dan Haren—spent all of 2008 in the A's rotation. He was only 7-16 but his other numbers were decent-to-solid except 4.1 BB/9. Smith joined Colorado in the Matt Holliday trade; there, his health and effectiveness deteriorated. He made eight mostly uninsipring starts in 2010 and has been in the minors since. Smith was a swingman with AAA Gwinnett (Braves) in '15, his fifth organization in five years since leaving the Rockies.

  • Ian Stewart, 3B, 30: In 2009-10, Stewart took most of Colorado's third base playing time, and though he struck out a lot, he belted 43 homers over that period. Ultimately, he whiffed his way off the roster. Stewart made news with a 2013 Twitter post criticizing the Cubs for letting him "rot" in AAA.  Stewart hit .176 in 24 games with the Angels in 2014 and played exclusively for AAA Syracuse (Nationals) in 2015.

  • Dan Straily, P, 26: Straily turned in 27 starts for the 2013 A's, going 10-8, 3.96 with a 1.24 WHIP despite a penchant for the home run ball. He wasn't as effective in '14 and went to the Cubs in the Jeff Samardzija deal. Chicago put Straily in the bullpen, where he struggled, then traded him to the Astros for 2015. He has made three spot starts for Houston, spending the majority of '15 with AAA Fresno.

  • Jose Tabata, OF, 27: The ex-Pirate averaged 100 games and about 350 at-bats for them 2010-13, but once Pittsburgh settled on Gregory Polanco as a regular in '14, Tabata became expendable and was outrighted off their roster despite $10M left on his deal. He spent only a month in the big leagues in '15 before being shipped to the Dodgers—who sent him to AAA Oklahoma City.

  • Taylor Teagarden, C, 31: Teagarden, who once boomed 27 homers as a prospect, has played parts of every MLB season 2008-15. But 2009 was the only one he spent entirely in the bigs; he split time with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and, later, Pudge Rodriguez—racking up over 200 PA that year. But Teagarden has only averaged 17 big league games per year since—most of his 2015 was spent with AAA Iowa (Cubs).

  • Josh Thole, C, 28: Thole started nearly 200 games for the 2011-12 Mets and moved on to Toronto when R.A. Dickey did, serving as his personal catcher. However, the Blue Jays opted to go with the superior hitter, Dioner Navarro, to back up Russ Martin in '15—leaving Thole as insurance at Buffalo. He has made spot appearances in the majors in '15.

  • Ramon Troncoso, RP, 32: Troncoso  made 175 appearances for the 2008-11 Dodgers, including 73 in 2009. That year, he posted six saves with a 2.72 ERA; it's by far his best season to date.  The veteran was a White Sock in mid-13 when hospitalized with a heart condition—now recovered, he waits for another major league shot. Troncoso returned to the Dodgers system in '15, with a 2.29 ERA in 31 games for AAA Oklahoma City.

  • Chin-Hui Tsao, P, 34: A top prospect for the mid-00s Rockies, the Taiwan native stumbled to a 5.80 ERA over parts of three years (2003-05) with Colorado, largely because of the gopher ball (16 in 63.2 combined innings; 10 in 35.2 at Coors Field, FYI). Tsao got in 21 games with the '07 Dodgers, then disappeared from the MLB radar—from 2009-14 Tsao dealt with Chinese League game-fixing, an unofficial pro baseball blacklist, and other off-field trouble.

    LA brought the now-34-year-old back for 2015; he mostly worked for AAA Oklahoma City but did get in five Dodger contests.

  • Jordany Valdespin, OF,  27: This young outfielder is known more for his attitude than actual on-field ability, which he's only shown in spurts to date. As a rookie, Valdespin got in 94 games with the 2012 Mets, but the fatal trio of his immature behavior, a Biogenesis suspension, and a .188 average got him sent Miami. The Marlins used Valdespin for much of the second half of 2014, but kept him in AAA New Orleans for practically all of 2015 (two Marlins appearances just before the break). Update: Valdespin was cut in August.

  • Jose Veras, RP, 34: A good middleman for the Yankees and several other clubs 2008-12 (averaging 61 appearances, 3.95 ERA, 9.6 K/9), Veras developed into a decent closer for the 2013 Astros, saving 19 games before being traded. He returned to Houston as a middleman early last season, and came back again after a spring cut by Atlanta. However, the stronger 2015 Astros sent Veras to AAA Fresno—he failed to impress and was released in August.

  • Chris Volstad, P, 28: Best known as the return to the Cubs when they traded Carlos Zambrano to Miami, Volstad started 88 games for the 2009-11 Marlins, winning 12 in 2010. Post-trade, Volstad struggled mightily and has drifted through four other organizations since. This year, he's done well for AAA Indianapolis (Pirates). Volstad made a June 2015 RA for the Pirates—his only MLB action since 2013.

  • Chien-Ming Wang, P, 35: Wang, as most fans remember, was the Yankees ace in 2006-07, winning 19 games each year. Then came a freak foot injury, and he's been unable to enjoy any sustained major league success since, passing through seven organizations this decade. Wang spent 2015 with So. Maryland (Ind) AAA Gwinnett (Braves) and AAA Tacoma (Mariners), with a composite 1.7 WHIP. Last in majors 2013.

  • Jemile Weeks, 2B, 28: Rickie's little bro was an A's sensation in 2011, batting (a light) .303 with 22 steals after the trade of Mark Ellis. He lost his job one year later and was eventually dispatched from the organization altogether.  Weeks has just 20 major league games under his belt from 2014-15, including three with Boston in 2015.

  • Josh Wilson, IF, 34: Wilson is as journeyman as journeymen get, having suited up for nine MLB teams 2005-15. He eclipsed 100 games in both 2007—his lone full MLB season—and 2010 and is a lifetime .228 hitter in 427 games thru 9/24. Most of Wilson's 2015 run came with AAA Toledo (Tigers); he was up with Detroit for a month prior to the break and again in September.

  • Randy Wolf, P, 39: A dependable starter for the Phillies, Dodgers and others since 1999, Wolf hasn't had a full, quality MLB season since 2011, even sitting out all of 2013. The veteran lefty shined at AAA Buffalo (Toronto) this year—9-2, 2.58 in 23 starts—before the Tigers plucked him for their rotation in August. He's thrown several good games for Detroit.

  • Blake Wood, RP, 30: Wood made 106 appearances for the 2010-11 Royals, but underwent Tommy John surgery in '12 and has only cameoed in the bigs since. He spent 2015 closing for AAA Indianapolis. Last in majors 2014.

  • Barry Zito, P, 37: San Francisco Bay Area fans got 14 seasons of Zito; that period included a bevy of big curveballs, a Cy Young Award, a huge contract and an even huger (if that's a word...which it probably isn't) World Series win. But by late 2013, he had little left besides that curveball and spent 2014 out of baseball. He's back this year—and a regular member of the Nashville (AAA Oakland) rotation. Update: Zito has returned to the bigs as of mid-September.

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