American Association Dispersal Draft: St. Paul Saints
American Association Daily provides insights and features on the American Association of Professional Baseball League, as well as player and coaching profiles and transactions going on with teams around the league. In today’s edition, Robert Pannier examines the players picked by the St. Paul Saints in the American Association dispersal draft held on Tuesday.
St. Paul Saints Bolster Bullpen
The American Association dispersal draft was Tuesday afternoon, and the St. Paul Saints made just five selections, the fewest of any team. This likely means that Manager George Tsamis has some recently released minor leaguers on his radar. However, he did make a few selections which should bolster the team’s bullpen considerably.
A look at the team’s five picks. (Team player was drafted from listed in parenthesis)
Chuck Taylor – OF (Kansas City)
Taylor split time in 2019 between AA-Harrisburg and AAA-Fresno (Washington Nationals). In 120 games, the outfielder hit .229 with 12 homers and 44 RBI. He added 18 doubles and had 29 total extra-base hits and 442 at bats.
Taylor was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks. He spent five seasons in the Arizona system, reaching AA-Mobile in 2016. In 2017, the outfielder moved to the Seattle Mariners organization where he played a season at AA-Arkansas. He remained there in 2018 before joining the Nationals last year.
In eight minor league seasons, Taylor has a .269 batting average with 36 homers, 429 runs scored, and 316 RBI. He has also walked 361 times, giving him a .356 on-base percentage.
Jameson McGrane – RHP (Kansas City)
McGrane pitched for York in the Atlantic League last season. The right-hander was 4-2 with an impressive 1.33 ERA in 59 appearances. He also saved 24 games for York. In 61.0 innings, McGrane allowed just 35 hits while walking 34. He struck out 79.
McGrane is a great story, signed by the Miami Marlins in 2018 after being out of organized baseball for two seasons. He played at four levels in 2018, including reaching High-A Jupiter. The right-hander was 4-0 with a 2.30 ERA in 17 appearances. He struck out 39 and 27.1 innings, but walked 24 to go along with 19 hits.
Rashad Crawford – OF (Kansas City)
Crawford has spent his entire eight-year professional career in the minor leagues. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 11th round of the 2012 draft. In five seasons with the Cubs, Crawford never reached higher than High-A Myrtle Beach.
In 2016, he was traded from the Cubs to the New York Yankees organization. He finished the year at High-A Tampa, but moved to AA-Trenton the following season. In 2018, Crawford reached AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Last season he spent the majority of the year back in Trenton. He appeared in 114 games last season, hitting .262 with seven homers and 47 RBI. He also stole 21 bases.
In eight minor league seasons, Crawford hit .248 with 24 homers and 255 RBI. He also scored 327 runs and stole 119 bases.
Jose Velez – LHP (Sioux City)
Velez spent 2019 with the Sioux City Explorers where he was a key part of the team’s bullpen, going 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA in 32 appearances. In 32.0 innings pitched, the left-hander allowed 24 hits and 11 walks while striking out an impressive 47.
Velez was not drafted coming out of college, pitching the first two years of his professional career with Evansville (Frontier League). He pitched in four games in his 2013 debut, but was a regular with the team in 2014, going 2-5 with a 2.53 ERA in 30 appearances.
His contract was purchased by the Minnesota Twins in 2015, and he split time between two levels, including High-A Fort Myers before being traded to the Miami Marlins. He finished out the season in Mid-A Greensboro, going 2-1 with a 4.80 ERA in 24 appearances. The following season he moved to High-A Jupiter, where Velez went 0-2 with a 3.79 ERA in 14 appearances.
In 2017, he pitched briefly for Long Island in the Atlantic League. The year 2018 proved to be a banner season for the left-hander, as he signed with New Jersey (Can-Am League), where he was 5-1 with a 1.67 ERA in 40 appearances. Velez pitched 54 innings that season, striking out 68.
In two minor league seasons he was 2-4 with a 4.15 ERA. In five independent baseball seasons, Velez is 9-8 with a 2.16 ERA.
Matt Pobereyko – RHP (Sioux City)
Pobereyko finished tied for third in the American Association in saves last season with 24. He led the league in appearances with 47. The right-hander was absolutely outstanding for Sioux City, going 1-4 with a 3.17 ERA. In 51 innings pitched, Pobereyko allowed 31 hits and just 14 walks, while striking out 74.
Pobereyko began his professional career with Florence in the Frontier League. After 20 appearances, posting a 1.33 ERA, the right-hander was signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks and reached High-A Visalia. A year later he moved to the Mets organization and reached AAA Las Vegas in 2018.
At the end of the 2018 season, Pobereyko was released and signed with Sioux City. In three minor league seasons he finished 6-7 with a 3.51 ERA and 15 saves. In 118.0 innings, the right-hander allowed 85 hits and 51 walks, while striking out 150.
By Robert Pannier