Baseball America rated right-hander Mike McTamney as a top five independent league talent after the season, and called his fastball the best in the Golden Baseball League.
Most of you have already read Phil Sheridan’s piece on Phillies special scout Mal Fichman, who specializes in digging under rocks and soil to find overlooked talent in the independent leagues. The Phillies recently signed four pitchers to minor league contracts as a result of tryout camps, lefties Jake Ociesa, Corey Willey and righties Mike McTamney and Jason Wylie.
Sheridan focused on Ociesa, who’s added five mph to his fastball since college, but McTamney was actually catching the eye of scouts even earlier. In October, Baseball America published a list of the top prospects in independent baseball. The 23-year-old undrafted graduate of Wagner College (go Seahawks) was one of just three pitchers to make the list, labeling his fastball the best in the Golden League, "touching 94 with a free and easy delivery." To compliment his fastball, McTamney throws a knuckleball and is working to improve his breaking pitch. Don't get excited about the knuckler; BA said it has little potential.
These signings represent the latest in long list of players acquired by unconventional means this off-season. Outfielder Greg Jacobs, former roommate of Aaron Rowand at Cal State Fullerton, was signed from the Northern League, and right-hander Charlie Weatherby became the first Lancaster Barnstormer (Atlantic League) to sign with the Phils back in November.
In general, the Phillies system is now stacked with cast-offs, including several who are competing for jobs on the 25-man roster. Say what you will about resorting to these tactics, but you can no longer blame the front-office for having a close-minded approach to the "unaffiliated."