While watching the St. Louis Cardinals face the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks on their road trip this week, I could not help but think about the long journeys taken by a pair of now-28-year-old former Cardinals farmhands from a decade ago – David Peralta and Jon Edwards.
Not only were the two teammates on the short-season rookie level Johnson City Cardinals way back in 2006-2007, but to revive their stalled careers after being released by the Cardinals, they crossed paths in independent ball and switched to the other’s position in the field.
Even better yet, the position changes helped enable them to beat the odds to not only get back into affiliated ball, but eventually reach the Major Leagues.
What are the chances of that?
Then known as Senger Peralta, the Venezuelan was first signed to a professional contract in September 2004 for the 2005 season. The left-handed pitcher was assigned to the Dominican Summer League in 2005 before moving to Johnson City for the next two years. Peralta missed the entire 2008 season due to shoulder surgery before being released in May 2009.
Overall, Peralta logged a career 4.51 ERA and a 5-8 record in 27 games, including 18 starts. He struck out 99 and walked 46 in 101 2/3 professional innings, never progressing past Johnson City as a Cardinals minor league pitcher.
After his release, Peralta surfaced in 2011 as an outfielder with the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings of the now defunct North American League. The next season, Peralta moved to the Wichita Wingnuts of the American Association and to the Amarillo Sox in the same league for 2013 before Arizona purchased his contract that July.
Though Peralta began at high-A, by the next June, he leapt over Triple-A and made his MLB debut in the Diamondbacks’ outfield, where he was an immediate sensation.
Edwards, who opened the 2016 regular season on San Diego’s disabled list, first made the bigs as a relief pitcher with the Rangers in 2014. The right-hander was dealt to the Padres in a trade for outfielder Will Venable last August.
Known as Jonathan Edwards early in his professional career, the power-hitting outfielder received a $110,000 bonus after being taken in the 14th round of the 2006 draft from a Texas high school. Edwards languished in the Cardinals system for five years until his release following the 2010 season.
Once considered a very promising prospect, Edwards fell from #15 to #25 to #32 to out of The Cardinal Nation’s top 40 prospect list over successive winters. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder was never able to master hitting in full-season ball with failed attempts to stick in the Class-A Midwest League in three consecutive seasons as his annual batting average plummeted from .289 to .205 to .180 and unemployment.
Like Peralta, Edwards found his way in independent ball. Still an outfielder in 2011, he played with the San Angelo Colts in the same now-defunct North American Baseball League as Peralta and later that season, Edwards made his pitching debut for the Alpine Cowboys of the Pecos League.
A 96 mph fastball earned Edwards a trial that led to a minor league contract with his hometown Rangers for 2012 and the door was re-opened. The right-hander began in high-A, but like Peralta, moved quickly in his second shot at affiliated ball, reaching Texas for the first time in August 2014.
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