Indy Report: Ledbetter is the King of Ks
Sometimes the Independent Leagues are just tailor made for certain players who had quickly flamed out in organized ball. Such seems to have been the case for one-time Cardinal draft pick RHP Aaron Ledbetter.
Drafted by St. Louis in the 24th round in 2001, Ledbetter spent two awful seasons at Rookie Level Johnson City, going 3-11 with a sky high ERA that would have made a pre-humidor Rockies’ hurler blush.
The following year, at the age of 22, he wound up in River City of the Frontier League and he’s never looked back.
In fact, earlier this month, Ledbetter became the league’s all-time strikeout king, passing the immortal Matt Schweitzer’s Frontier mark of 434 career Ks.
You can add the K mark to an impressive list of Frontier League records Ledbetter already owned, including most career wins, innings pitched, starts and a share of the mark of complete games.
He’s made the last three all-star games, and last year, based on his sick season (14-2, 2.71, 103 Ks in 129 2/3 IP), won the Brian Tollberg Award as the Most Valuable Pitcher (by the way, how bizarre is it that a pitcher who went on to win 15 major league games is the standard that all Frontier League hurlers strive to match?).
Ledbetter has accomplished all of this before the age of 27 (which he’ll reach this coming weekend). So here’s a question for you: is there a major league organization paying attention to what Ledbetter has been doing the past few years? Would someone give this still quite young hurler an opportunity to be the next Brian Tollberg?