By Jason Wojciechowski on February 18, 2015 at 10:30 PM
Another week, another Minors Wrap. I should come up with some sort of clever name, but I probably won't.
In any event, as there is yet again no minor-league action to talk about, let's instead examine one Branch Kloess, who the A's signed to a minor-league contract on February 11th.
Google shows Branch Kloess is a lawyer who was charged with obstruction of justice for entering a guilty plea on behalf of someone who, it is alleged, he knew to be using a false name. The question for the appellate court is whether a particular provision of the law was an element of the obstruction of justice offense (and thus needed to be alleged and proven by the prosecution) or an affirmative defense (with the burden on the defendant to prove it if he is to make use of it). The Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which covers Florida, Alabama, and Georgia, ruled in what might be broadly characterized as the more government-friendly or defendant-unfriendly manner, holding that it was an affirmative defense. That was in 2001.
So after serving his jail time, presumably, Kloess started playing professional baseball at the age of 24 in 2009. He spent a little time in the Frontier League before signing with the White Sox. He played in Chicago's system through 2012, reaching Triple-A, before spending the last two years with San Diego, playing in Tucson and El Paso, both Triple-A squads, where he put up a combined 5.95 RA/9, which is on the one hand brutal and on the other hand a bit less brutal than it looks because of how horrific it is to pitch in Tucson and El Paso. (Did I tell you about how I saw Sacramento go back-to-back-to-back in Tucson? That was cool as hell. Jeremy Barfield hit one of those dongers.)
I have now told you everything there is on the Internet about Branch Kloess.