That’s right: Two.
York’s Ryan Feierabend (pictured above in photo awesomeness courtesy of Revs) and Sugar Land’s Matt Wright (sorry, no awesome photos) signed deals to play at Triple-A with the Reds and Phillies organizations Tuesday. It happened just hours apart. The Reds made the first move, signing Feierabend. He is tentatively scheduled to start for Triple-A Louisville Friday. About an hour after Feierabend signed, the Phillies contacted the Revs hoping to sign him. Notified that Feierabend was not available, the Phillies turned to Wright.
Independent players can be looked at as stop-gap players. If an injury or promotion at a Triple-A club opens up a roster spot, and if no arms are ready or available at Double-A, organizations can turn to the Atlantic League to fill the roster spot. Yet a few of those players have moved up to the big leagues. And it appears Feierabend and Wright could have a chance to earn a call-up if they pitch well at Triple-A. The Phillies have been hit hard by injuries, and while the Reds have pitched well (ranked seventh in MLB with a 3.52 ERA) the Reds Triple-A club has struggled to compete. Just 18-41 on the year, Louisville appears to have some talent in the starting rotation, including former Rockies starter Jeff Francis and Brett Tomko. Louisville’s four most-used starters this season have major league experience. Still Feierabend could stand out since he doesn’t walk batters. Through his first 41 2/3 innings with York he issued just four free passes.
Now at Triple-A, Wright and Feierabend just need a lucky break at this point. After all, just last year Jerome Williams started the season with the Barnstormers and ended the season in the Angels starting rotation. In four of the last five seasons a player has started the year in the Atlantic League only to earn a promotion to the big leagues by the end of the season.