By Jerry Del Priore
The independent Atlantic League is a place for players to get a second chance to showcase their diamond skills in hopes of landing with an affiliated MLB organization.
Sometimes, ex-major leaguers find themselves in the Atlantic League, looking to play their way back to “The Show.”
Here are six current (March 24th) former MLBers with a respectable amount of time at the big league level, who are scheduled to start the 2018 campaign in the Atlantic League.
Ross Detwiller – York Revolution
Detwiller pitched nine seasons in MLB (2007 through 2016), including seven with the Washington Nationals, the organization that drafted him sixth overall pick in the 2007 MLB Draft.
Detwiler’s best season came in 2012, when he went 10-8 with a 3.40 ERA and 105 strikeouts, across 164.1 innings in 33 outings (27 starts) for the NL East-champion Nationals.
The six-foot-three southpaw has appeared in 189 MLB games in his career, starting 89 of them, and made at least 30 appearances in a season three times.
Detwiler spent the 2017 season in the minors with the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics systems and appeared in 19 contests.
Jair Jurrjens – Long Island Ducks
Jurrjens, an Detroit Tigers non-drafted free agent signing in 2003, spent eight seasons at the Major League level, including five with the Atlanta Braves (2008-12) and one each with the Tigers (2007), Baltimore Orioles (2013) and Colorado Rockies (2014).
The 2011 National League All-Star pitcher enjoyed his best year when he fired a 13-6 record with a 2.96 ERA and 90 strikeouts across 152 innings in 23 starts as a Brave.
In 130 MLB games (128 starts), the Curacao native amassed a 53-38 record, a 3.72 ERA, two complete games and 514 strikeouts over 767 and one-third innings.
The 32-year-old right-hander started 2017 by representing Team Netherlands at the World Baseball Classic. In three games (two starts), he posted a 1-0 record with a 2.38 ERA, helping to lead Netherlands to a semifinal appearance.
Jurrjens then made 11 outings (10 starts) with Oklahoma City (AAA, Dodgers) during the 2017 season, going 4-3 with a 4.64 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 54 and one-third innings.
Endy Chavez — Somerset Patriots
The 40-year-old Chavez had played 13 years in the big leagues, with the New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos, Texas Rangers, Orioles, and Seattle Mariners.
In a major league batter’s box, Chavez, a solid defender, sported a .270 career average with 30 long balls, 266 RBI and 106 stolen bases. He also owns a .291 average over his 20-year professional career.
Last season, he slugged .343 with five home runs and 59 RBI across 93 tilts with Pericos de Puebla of the Mexican League.
Jordany Valdespin – Long Island Ducks
Valdespin, inked as an undrafted free agent by the Mets in 2007, played with New York for two seasons (2012-13) and two more with the Miami Marlins (2014-15).
For his MLB career, the six-foot lefty hitter smacked 15 home runs, 52 RBI, 14 doubles and three triples while scoring 52 runs and stealing 15 bases in 214 big league contests.
Valdespin, 30, spent the 2017 season with Olmecas de Tabasco and Leones de Yucatan in the Mexican League. He totaled 72 games and posted a .332 batting average with four homers, 37 RBI, 48 runs, 13 doubles, four triples, 15 stolen bases and a .418 on-base percentage.
Sean O’Sullivan – Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
O’Sullivan, a third-round pick of the Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels in 2006 out of Grossmont College, played for the Angels, Kansas City Royals, San Diego Padres, Phillies, and Boston Red Sox and in Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) for the Nexen Heroes.
For O’Sullivan’s MLB career, he had logged seven years, compiling a 13-23 mark with 6.01 ERA in 71 games.
Xavier Paul – Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Paul, a 2003 fourth round (121st overall) MLB amateur draft selection of the Los Angeles Dodgers, played six years in “The Bigs” with the Dodgers, Pittsburg Pirates, Cincinnati Reds, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Slidell, Louisiana-born outfielder batted .250 with 12 homers, 71 RBI, 23 stolen bases and 83 runs in 693 at-bats in 349 MLB games.
Paul spent 2017 with the Round Rock Express of the Pacific Coast League, the AAA affiliate of the Texas Rangers. He went 1-5 in two affairs with the Express.
In his 14 professional seasons, the 33-year-old has put up a career .280 batting average with 106 round trippers, 569 RBI and 126 base thefts.