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Former Major Leaguers You Probably Didn’t Know Were Still Playing

Are any of your former favorites still playing somewhere?

Whether it be in Korea’s KBO, Japan’s NPB, or any of the several Independent Leagues across the United States, players have found their way to new teams following their big league careers. I scoured the web for some of the most notable, and documented to see how they were doing in their new surroundings. Keep in mind, there aren’t really any “stars” playing elsewhere, as they usually finish out their playing careers in the MLB, but some of the players discussed here may bring some nostalgia, and probably even surprise you.

Associated Press

RHP Mat Latos

League: Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

Team: Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (Waldorf, MD)

We’re starting it off with a guy who most fans know about, former Padres, Reds and Blue Jays starter Mat Latos. Latos’ career didn’t amount to much, even as a highly regarded starter when he began his career in San Diego, Latos saw a fall off in his career when he left the Reds in 2015. He bounced around with six different clubs until he found himself in the CanAm league with the New Jersey Jackals. You may have seen a video or two of a brawl he sparked during his time there in 2018. His 2019 campaign with the Blue Crabs has been promising, as he has a 0.79 WHIP in 22.1 innings.

Getty

OF Alejandro De Aza

League: Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

Team: New Britain Bees (New Britain, CT)

De Aza enjoyed a ten year career, spending time with the Marlins, White Sox, Orioles, Red Sox, Giants, Mets and Nationals. Another one of those non-stars but a name you recognize immediately when hearing it.

Associated Press

OF/3B Alex Guerrero

League: Nippon Professional Baseball

Team: Yomiuri Giants (Japan)

Guerrero is one of the lesser-knowns on this list. He spent his two year major league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers before choosing to play in Japan.

USA Today Sports

RHP Nick Rumbelow

League: Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

Team: Sugar Land Skeeters (Sugar Land, TX)

Rumbelow only recently left Major League Baseball, and one would expect him to be back at some point in the near future. He started his career with the Yankees and made three appearances this season with the Seattle Mariners, pitching to a 27.00 ERA.

USA Today Sports

OF Jabari Blash

League: Nippon Professional Baseball

Team: Rakuten Golden Eagles

Blash came up in the Padres organization in 2016, and last played with the Los Angeles Angels in 2018. As a prospect, he was touted for his power to all fields and was expected to become a key part of the Padres future. However, he just didn’t end up panning out. The power seems to have regained form, as he’s swatted 20 homers in 68 games with the Golden Eagles in 2019.

Getty

OF Daniel Nava

League: American Association of Independent Professional Baseball

Team: Kansas City T-Bones (Kansas City, KS)

Nava is best known for hitting a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in his major league career. He spent time with the Rays, Angels, Royals and Phillies following his debut with the Red Sox.

USA Today Sports

1B Tommy Joseph

League: KBO

Team: LG Twins (South Korea)

Joseph spent his short two year MLB career with the Philadelphia Phillies, in 2016 and 2017. Mostly known for his power, he hit 27 home runs in his final year in Philly.

Associated Press

RHP Carlos Zambrano

League: American Association of Independent Professional Baseball

Team: Chicago Dogs (Rosemont, IL)

How could anyone forget the high spirited Carlos Zambrano. Well known for his antics on the field, while being a serviceable pitcher over his 13 year MLB career. Zambrano is currently in the American Association attempting a comeback after a few years away from baseball. He most recently pitched in the MLB in 2012 with the Miami Marlins. He has a 3.98 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched with the Dogs in 2019.

USA Today Sports

LHP Brett Oberholtzer

League: Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

Team: Somerset Patriots (Somerset, NJ)

Oberholtzer enjoyed a four year MLB career, spending time with the Astros, Phillies and Angels.

AZ Central Sports

RHP Rubby De La Rosa

League: Nippon Professional Baseball

Team: Yomiuri Giants (Japan)

Rubby last pitched in the MLB in 2017 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he spent three seasons. He started his career with the Dodgers in 2011, and also spent time with the Red Sox.

Getty

OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis

League: Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

Team: Long Island Ducks (Long Island, NY)

Nieuwenhuis started his career with the Mets in 2012 and spent four years there, never amounting to much more than a bench player. He was claimed off waivers by the Brewers in 2015, and after a brief stint with the Mariners, found himself in the Atlantic League with the Ducks.

Associated Press

1B Kennys Vargas

League: Nippon Professional Baseball

Team: Chiba Lotte Marines (Japan)

Kennys Vargas is another one of those guys you’d expect to get a shot in the big leagues again. He came up with the Twins in 2014, and was a serviceable bat for the majority of his time there. His .833 OPS in 2016 was the 3rd highest on the Twins.

Getty

LHP Henry Owens

League: American Association of Independent Professional Baseball

Team: Kansas City T-Bones (Kansas City, KS)

Owens made his much anticipated MLB debut in 2015 with the Red Sox. Unfortunately, he couldn’t shake the walks and kickstart his career in Boston. He was claimed off waivers by the D-Backs in 2017, then was later claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers, and released in 2018.

Getty

2B Alexi Casilla

League: Atlantic League of Professional Baseball

Team: York Revolution (York, PA)

Casilla played in the MLB for nine seasons, eight of which being with the Minnesota Twins. 2008 was the highlight of his career, when he slashed .281/.333/.374, which pretty much tells the story of his major league career. Casilla has actually bounced around the Atlantic League over the last few years, but has settled in with York. He’s slashing .300/.331/.431 thus far in 2019.


Featured Photo: Associated Press

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Jack Dorfsman

Marketing/Graphic Design major at Western Connecticut State University. Grew up In Stamford, CT, and practically bleed baseball.

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