Puerto Rico may not be the first place you'd think to look for a potential major league catcher, but you certainly could do worse. 30 Puerto Rican catchers have played in the major leagues, including 17 that have been active since the start of the 2010 season. Among those are one current and five former Brewers: Martin Maldonado, Wil Nieves, Carlos Corporan, Mike Rivera, Raul Casanova and Robinson Cancel.
The Brewers took Cancel with the 431st overall pick in the 1994 draft and brought him to the big leagues for the first time in 1999, where he hit .182/.234/.227 in 15 games during his age 23 season. That was enough to earn him half of a Fleer "Top Prospects" card in 2000:
Unfortunately, Cancel and Barker have another thing in common: short major league careers. Cancel returned to the minors with the Brewers in 2000 and had played in several organizations and independent ball before resurfacing in the big leagues for 27 games with the Mets in 2008. He last caught in the majors as a member of the 2011 Astros, and spent the 2012 season with Monterrey in the Mexican League.
With help from the B-Ref Play Index, happy birthday today to:
- 2011 Brewer Brandon Boggs, who turns 30. We covered his birthday in Today In Brewer History last year.
- Bill Bordley, the Brewers' first round pick in 1976 (#4 overall, did not sign), who turns 55.