To say the Indians bullpen got a workout Saturday night would be an understatement, and it can be called Exhibit A for why its a very good thing rosters expand to 40 in September.
The Indians pulled off a 1-0, 10-inning walk-off win over Justin Verlander and the Tigers Sat night, a win that reduced their magic number to 7 to clinch the division, but the story of this game was the Tribe bullpen.
Starting pitcher Carlos Carrasco exited the game before he could even record an out, as his second pitch of the game caught his right hand and caused a fracture. Manager Terry Francona was forced to go the pen a lot earlier that intended, and he went to it often.
Counting Carrasco, the Indians used a total of 9 pitchers, including LH Kyle Crockett (Poquoson/UVA), to complete the game, setting a record for a shutout. Crockett and his seven fellow relievers combined to hold the Tigers to 3 hits with 3 walks, striking out 10, over the rest of the game, and the Indians won the game in the bottom of the 10th.
For years, even decades, the University of Virginia has been known as a hotbed of talent for the sport of football. (Every NFL draft since the early 1980s has seen at least one NFL player get drafted out of UVA.) But make way, football, Major League Baseball is gaining steam.
As of Tuesday, September 15th, when the Orioles recalled P Tyler Wilson (Midlothian) from Triple-A Norfolk, a record 10 Wahoos appear on major league rosters. Here is the rundown of the UVA-to-MLB pipeline:
San Francisco Giants reliever Javier Lopez (Fairfax) played at Virginia from 1996-1998. He currently leads all active major league players with 4 World Series rings. (2007 with the Red Sox and the three SF titles of the 2010s.)
St Louis Cardinals IF Mark Reynolds (Va Beach) played at Virginia from 2001-2004. His 236 career homers are 23rd among active major league players.
Washington Nationals IF Ryan Zimmerman (Va Beach) played at Virginia from 2003-2005. In the 2005 draft, he was selected in the first round by Washington, the very first draft choice in the history of the Washington Nationals, who had just moved to DC from Montreal. Zimmerman is the last player left from the team’s inaugural season in Washington, and has clearly become the face of the franchise. His 10 career Walk-off homers are 2 short of the NL record). On March 30th, 2008, he christened the new Nationals Park with a walk-off HR to beat the Braves. In the summer of 2015, he cracked the 200 HR milestone. In his time as a National, his resume also includes an all-star game, a Gold Glove, and 2 Silver Sluggers.
Oakland Athletics P Sean Dolittle played at Virginia from 2005-2007. In 2014 he was 10th in the AL with 22 saves, and made his first all-star game.
Also currently on Major League rosters: Cleveland Indians P Kyle Crockett (Poquoson), Arizona Diamondbacks IF Phil Gosselin, Tampa Bay Rays OF Brandon Guyer (Herndon), Seattle Mariners C John Hicks (Richmond), San Francisco Giants OF Jarrett Parker (Stafford), and Wilson.
Major League Baseball, Wahoo strong!!!!!!!!
Despite having one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, the Oakland Athletics always find a way to be competitive every year. Not necessarily contenders and playoff-bound, but competitive. Shrewd and creative moves by GM Billy Beane have allowed the Athletics to be legitimate contenders.
While they remain competitive at the big league level, the farm system is doing it’s job of getting big leaguers ready. As we come up on the end of the minor league season, all of the leagues are starting to announce end-of-season awards. The Texas League, the Double-A affiliate, announced it’s postseason all-star team, and 3/4 of the starting infield were prospects from Oakland’s Double-A affiliate, Midland.
One of those selected was SS Chad Pinder (Poquoson/Virginia Tech), who has emerged as Oakland’s No. 7 prospect, via MLBPipeline.com. Pinder not only made the team, but he also took home Texas League Player of the Year honors.
Pinder, a 2013 draft choice of the Oakland Athletics, has skyrocketed through the system. In 2014, he batted .288 with 13 HR and 55 RBIs and was selected an organizational all-star. This year, in the Texas League, he was one of 8 Midland players to go to the mid-season all-star game, and is among the league leaders in batting, HR, and RBIs.
Pinder will be 24 on Opening Day 2016.
In recent years, the Commonwealth of Virginia had really emerged as a goldmine of baseball talent. Justin Upton, Justin Verlander, Michael Cuddyer, Javier Lopez, Ryan Zimmerman, just some of the top talent in major league baseball today. But these are guys getting older, several of whom are well past the age of 30.
Despite that, some new talent emerged from the Old Dominion in 2014. In the friendly confines of Wrigley Field in Chicago, the lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs are still trying to find a winning formula to their first pennant since 1955. They appeared to have found a good, reliable bullpen righty arm in the form of Neil Ramirez (Virginia Beach). Ramirez, acquired from the Rangers in the Matt Garza deal, made his major league debut on April 25th against the Brewers. He would pitch scoreless ball in his first 4 appearances for the Cubs, and overall in his first 17 appearances allowed only a solo homerun to White Sox 2B Gordon Beckham. This put his ERA at 0.60 before the rest of baseball started to figure him out a bit. He would return to AAA for a respite at the end of July, but was back up for good in August, and finished the season with a 1.44 ERA and 16 holds in 50 appearances for the Cubs. Ramirez will hit Opening Day 2015 at the age of 25.
In Cleveland, the Indians called up a young lefty reliever on May 16th, and after a shuttle back and forth to AAA, Kyle Crockett (Poquoson) emerged as a dependable arm out of the Tribe’s bullpen. In 43 total relief appearances, Crockett posted a 4-1 record, and an outstanding 1.80 ERA. After his first three major league appearances in May, his ERA was 2.08. It climbed them to a high of 2.89 on June 24th. Crockett’s next 17 games were all scoreless relief, and his ERA did not climb above 2 the rest of the season. His work in the Indians pen was a key to the Indians staying in contention for the better part of the season, as they finished 85-77 and only 5 games out of first place in the AL Central division. On Opening Day 2015, Crockett will only be 23.
In the Pacific Northwest, SS Chris Taylor (Virginia Beach) made his major league debut for the Mariners on July 24th at home against the Orioles, and got a base hit in his debut. He would hit safely in his first 12 major league games where he played the entire time. His exploits truly helped put a jolt into the Mariners offense and helped catapult Seattle into playoff contention, where they stayed until the last day of the season. He finished with a .287 batting average, a .347 on base percentage, and 9 RBIs in 47 games. He will hit Opening Day 2015 at the ripe age of 24.
Neil Ramirez. Kyle Crockett. Chris Taylor. The latest in a string of talent to go to the major leagues. The latest heroes that Virginians can call their own.
The Indians have a clear dominating option out of the bullpen when a lefty is needed. LH reliever Kyle Crockett (Poquoson) has become a major force in the bullpen for Cleveland.
On June 24th, in a loss to the Diamondbacks, Crockett allowed a run in 1 1/3 innings of relief, the second straight game he allowed the opposition to score. This sent his ERA up to 2.89.
Since then, Crockett has been, well, about as close to perfection as you can get.
In 9 1/3 innings of relief work, over the span of 13 games, Crockett has been unscored upon, plummeting his season ERA down to 1.45. In 7 of those 13 games, he has held the opponents hitless, and only twice has he allowed 2 hits. he has notched 11 SO in that stretch, and walked only three batters.
Do the Indians have their closer of the future in LH Kyle Crockett? The Poquoson native has been unscored upon in 6 straight games now.
Check out @UVABaseball’s Tweet: https://twitter.com/UVABaseball/status/479718634709725185
Big day for Indians P Kyle Crockett (Poquoson) getting first major league win.