Global Baseball

One man\’s year-long journey through the world of baseball

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi Oi Oi!

About 6 years ago, Australia emerged as a potentially huge source of international talent.  Since then, most Aussie players have stalled out in Double and Triple-A, including Glenn Williams, the first and (I believe) only Australian player to be represented by Scott Boras as an amateur.  Today, we bring you 3 reports on Australians fighting for regular playing time on major league rosters.

First, and most compelling, is the story of Peter Moylan, the former pharmacy representative who impressed scouts at the World Baseball Classic and now plays in the upper levels of the Braves’ system.  Moylan throws hard heat, but is just now learning what it takes to succeed at the major league level after following the Dennis Quaid path to reborn baseball relevance.

Next, we have a Kansas City Star article on Justin Huber.  Thought to be a lock as Kansas City’s first baseman of the future two years ago, Huber’s fortunes took a turn for the worse when KC acquired Ryan Shealy from the Rockies.  Huber needs a good year to improve his trade value, because it’s looking more and more like he’ll never get a shot with the Royals.  Usually, inability to crack the worst roster in major league baseball’s a pretty damning indictment of someone’s abilities, but KC’s actually pretty stacked at the corners this year.  I remain cautiously optimistic on Huber, but if he doesn’t show enough this year, he’ll turn into a Quad-A guy.

And finally, one of my favorite players, even though he’s yet to complete a full major league season.  According to the Nationals’ website, Chris Snelling seems to be the subject of a dispute in talent evaluation between Nats’ manager Manny Acta and GM Jim Bowden.  At issue: the competition between Snelling and Ryan Church for the starting Left Field job.  Bowden says Snelling’s definitely on the team and a good bet to start in left, while Acta says Church has left field locked up and Snelling’s on the bubble to make the team.  It’s only natural for Bowden to be a fan of Snelling’s.  Snelling and Fruto for Video has the potential to be the rare Bowden masterstroke, though I may be a bit biased as a Mariners fan and full-fledged member of the Cult of Doyle.
Finally,  the Boston Globe ran a piece a couple of weeks ago about the Australian National Team that took home the silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens which shows how much work is left to do promoting the game down under.  What the few Australians in baseball have managed given baseball’s relative status as an extremely specialized niche sport in the country is nothing short of remarkable.  Australians are incredible athletes, and Major League Baseball seems to be rededicating itself by setting up an MLB-funded Australian Winter League, so hopefully we’ll see significant growth in the game in Australia in the next few years.

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March 21, 2007 Posted by | Australian Baseball, Chris Snelling | 1 Comment

Chris Snelling’s Bizarre Injury History

Apparently, the long chain of Chris Snelling injuries didn’t begin in 2002 when Mariners’ 3rd-base coach Dave Myers told the then-20-year-old Aussie to put the breaks on, or even in 2000 when he broke his hand playing in the minors.   The  Free-Lance Star chronicles Snelling’s bizarre injury history as he prepares to battle for an outfield job in the other Washington this spring.

February 17, 2007 Posted by | Australian Baseball, Chris Snelling | Leave a comment