Welcome to the latest edition of the Indy Ball Weekly Perspective
Lew Ford, best known for his time with the Minnesota Twins, is dominating the independent Atlantic League. Ford has spent the past few years bouncing between Triple A and the indy leagues, but everywhere he goes a .300 batting average follows.
Ford last saw MLB action for the Baltimore Orioles in 2012, and although his career .268 average doesn't seem all that impressive, he continues to be a guy that teams need and want.
Since 2009, independent baseball has played a big part in Ford's development. You can say, that without indy baseball, many of these fringe players would be out of a job. It's the exact opposite. Ford has played everywhere (US, Japan, Mexico), and his five indy seasons are becoming, in my eyes, stuff of legend.
During that time, Ford's hit .343 with 34 home runs and and 167 RBI, never batting below .318. To put that into perspective, he hit .377 in 2013, though that was limited to splitting time with the Orioles minor league affiliates, Bowie and Norfolk. Now in 2014, Ford has taken his game to a whole other level.
After 49 games, the Long Island Ducks outfielder leads the league in every offensive category: .392, 11 home runs, 47 RBI. His OBP is reaching Barry Bonds territory (1.096). On top of that, Ford has also added another dimension to his game. He doubles as hitting coach.
In a May 24 interview with Newsday, he explains the benefits of the extracurricular activity.
"Has doubling as hitting coach helped, just in terms of watching each individual at bat during the game?
It hasn't hurt. I am trying to watch the pitchers so I can relay the information to the other guys on what they might have. Working with the other guys on their swing can help you. If you're playing, you're doing the same things."
At 37 Ford is unlikely to make a MLB Opening Day roster, but his trek through all ranks of professional baseball is a blueprint to every journeyman player.
There are options out there. The minor leagues is not the end, only a new beginning.
For has parlayed a very admirable career, one that spans over 14 years, into a new chapter. The Ducks have giving Ford a new outlook on the game, He's proving that if you can hit the ball, you can hit the ball. With that pedigree, he can now help others improve their game. Who wouldn't take advice from a hitting coach with a wealth of experience and has done everything and been everywhere?