The independent leagues are an interesting level, but there are plenty of fomer Pittsburgh Pirates players and prospects at this level of baseball.
Independent League baseball: it’s a level of baseball where you have a mix of career minor leaguers holding onto the dream of eventually making the major leagues and recent college graduates looking to get into the professional scene. You’ll occasionally see a former long-time big leaguer who had success in the MLB, at this level as well, like Mat Latos, Alejandro De Aza, Dante Bichette, and Juan Gonzalez. The most successful MLB player to play in the independent circuit was Rickey Henderson. It’s actually the very first level of professional baseball I watched, given the Washington Wild Things and their park are a whole lot closer to my residence than to the Pittsburgh Pirates and PNC Park.
Plenty of players have seen playing time in the major leagues and are now with independent league teams. Most guys never were big-time stars like Bichette, Gonzalez, or Henderson, but there are some former notable prospects and guys who played a few games in the majors playing with some of these independent clubs. The Pirates have a few former Major Leaguers who suited up for at least one major league game, now in the Indy Leagues.
Today, I want to look at the nine former Pirates now in the independent leagues. Not every single player played with the Pirates, but they at least took the field in one major league contest. They’re also only nine players I could find who at least played in the Pirates’ minor league system and are still active today with an United States independent league organization. With that being said, let’s look at our first player.