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DrungoHazewood

In praise of Willis Otanez

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I'm still keeping track of Otanez' career. It looks like he's not currently on an active roster, but a little Googling revealed a rumor that he was going to maybe sign with the Saltillo Sarape Makers in the Mexican League. By my best figurin' he's 316 hits shy of 3000 as a professional, counting MLB, affiliated minor league ball, indy leagues, and the Mexican League. He's turning 40 in a few weeks, but was still a pretty effective player in Mexico and the Atlantic League last year (.277 with an .811 OPS and 21 homers).

Cool stuff. I hope he gets picked up by someone. Imagine the book this guy could write?

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I wonder if he could have stuck in the Majors a bit longer had he not broken his wrist in the first inning of his 3rd ML game: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA199808270.shtml

I remember watching that, I think on TV. He almost came up with the sliding catch of Albert Belle's blooper, but was just a bit late and I think his glove must have snagged on the ground. He broke his wrist and missed the rest of the year. If he had made an impression during September, who knows, maybe he would have hung around longer in 99. He did get a decent shot in April/May 99 as the guy who gave Cal a rest, though, and he just didn't hit, so maybe not.

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I wonder if he could have stuck in the Majors a bit longer had he not broken his wrist in the first inning of his 3rd ML game: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHA/CHA199808270.shtml

I remember watching that, I think on TV. He almost came up with the sliding catch of Albert Belle's blooper, but was just a bit late and I think his glove must have snagged on the ground. He broke his wrist and missed the rest of the year. If he had made an impression during September, who knows, maybe he would have hung around longer in 99. He did get a decent shot in April/May 99 as the guy who gave Cal a rest, though, and he just didn't hit, so maybe not.

It's possible. When you are in that vast group in between average MLBer and AAA a good career is often as much about timing and luck as skill. I would guess several hundred players of Otanez' caliber have played 500+ MLB games. Heck, there are more than a handful of guys who were under replacement in well over 1000 games.

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The legend continues! He's playing again in the Mexican League.

That's awesome. Seems that his trial with Saltillo only lasted six games, but now he's on to the Aguascalientes Railroadmen. By my count he's now played on 29 different professional teams. That's amazing. I hope he goes forever!

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That's awesome. Seems that his trial with Saltillo only lasted six games, but now he's on to the Aguascalientes Railroadmen. By my count he's now played on 29 different professional teams. That's amazing. I hope he goes forever!

I still keep thinking this guy could write a hell of a book.

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Looks like he's at 2889 hits as of today. He's 42 playing in the Mexican league. 10 hits in 10 games so far. Looks like he's going to get to 3,000 at some point this year.

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Looks like he's at 2889 hits as of today. He's 42 playing in the Mexican league. 10 hits in 10 games so far. Looks like he's going to get to 3,000 at some point this year.

Willis is awesome. His bb-ref page is epic.

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Looks like he's at 2889 hits as of today. He's 42 playing in the Mexican league. 10 hits in 10 games so far. Looks like he's going to get to 3,000 at some point this year.

Someone get this man to write a book? Can you imagine the stories he can tell by playing this long and so many leagues? Not sure if Willie speaks English or not (Though I imagine he does since he's from Puerto Rico), but someone should recommend it to him.

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It appears that the playing career of Willis Otanez is over. He only got about 130 PAs last year split between the Atlantic and Mexican Leagues, and hasn't played in 2016. He's now 43. And there is a link I found on Google to a Willis Otanez baseball academy, but it's blocked at work so I can't investigate.

In any case, if it's over he ends up with 2955 regular season professional hits. 50 in the majors, 2300 and some in a combination of the affiliated minors and Mexico*, and the rest in indy ball. But he also had 212 in Winter Ball, pushing his total to 3117 pro hits (which I know doesn't add up, but I'm combining data sources that don't exactly match. I think bb-ref is missing a partial season in Mexico. Total might be 3167.) Which I think is pretty impressive no matter the level of competition. I agree with Tony, Willis needs to write a book.

* For whatever reason MLB counts Mexico as a AAA league despite the fact it's not AAA quality and it's not an affiliated league.

Edited by DrungoHazewood
  • Upvote 1

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Interesting stuff...and his about page for the academy site says he has over 3k hits, not sure how they count them....

Willis Alexander Ot??ez is a Dominican born baseball player. He was born April 19, 1973, in Cotui, Dominican Republic. Willis found himself always holding a bat at age 7 and that's when he realized that he had a gift to play the game of baseball. Willis worked hard developing his skills during his teen years in a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. Finally, Willis was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1990 and appeared in his first Major League Baseball game with the Baltimore Orioles on August 25, 1998.

Willis had a very diversified professional baseball career, playing in the MLB, The Mexican League, Dominican Republic, Minor League and the Atlantic League. Throughout his career Willis has collected over 400 Home runs and over 3000 hits.

http://www.willisotanezbaseball.com/about/

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