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MLB: Major progress

Seven players with SCV ties spent time with big league clubs this year

Posted: October 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: October 11, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Tampa Bay Rays pitcher and Hart graduate James Shields waves after recording his franchise-record 15th strikeout against the Baltimore Orioles on Oct. 2 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

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As if it needed another reason to assert itself as a baseball factory, the Santa Clarita Valley had its moment on July 31 in Oakland.

The starting pitchers in the Tampa Bay Rays-Oakland A’s game were hart High graduate James Shields and Saugus High graduate Tommy Milone.

It marked the first time that two Santa Clarita Valley high school graduates started against each other in a Major League game.

Shields, the seven-year Major League veteran, got the best of the rookie Milone in an 8-0 Tampa Bay win — a complete-game shutout for the Hart grad.

But Milone would have his moments this season.

And currently, he is one of three locals who are in baseball’s postseason.

It was another promising year for the valley, highlighted also by the big league debut of Hart grad Trevor Bauer.

Here’s a detailed look into how the seven players with local ties did in the 2012 Major League Baseball regular season.

James Shields, Hart High graduate, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher

Near the Major League trade deadline at the end of July, it was rumored that Shields would be traded.

There were a couple of reasons for that — his value was high because of an affordable contract and he could potentially bring back a large haul of prospects for cash-strapped Tampa Bay.

The latter reason was a compliment to the 2000 Hart High graduate because he has proven, especially over the past two seasons, that he is a durable pitcher who wins.

The 30-year-old had a rough patch in May, June and July with a combined 5-7 record and 4.54 ERA.

But in the season’s second half, he was one of the American League’s best pitchers.

Shields was 7-5 with a 2.81 ERA.

On Sept. 10, the right-hander was named the A.L.’s co-Player of the Week after going 2-0 the week of Sept. 2-9 with a 1.59 ERA, 13 strikeouts and three walks in 17 innings against two of the American League’s top teams — the Rangers and Yankees.

Against the hard-hitting Rangers, he tossed his second shutout of the season, allowing just two hits, while striking out eight batters.

On Tuesday, he struck out a club-record 15 batters on Oct. 2 against Baltimore in a 1-0 loss.

“I knew this was my last game and I wanted to let it all hang out,” Shields said after the start. “I wanted to end on a good note, end on a bang. That was probably the best game of my career.”

On the season, Shields was 15-10 (15 wins were 10th in the A.L.) with a 3.52 ERA in 33 starts. He struck out 223 batters (third) in 227 2/3 innings (third) and tossed three complete games (fifth) and two shutouts (third).

Going deeper into the numbers, few A.L. starting pitchers have been better over the last two seasons.

The 2011 Cy Young Award third-place finisher leads the league in shutouts (six), complete games (14) and is second in strikeouts (448), innings pitched (477) and is tied for sixth in wins (31) and eighth in ERA (3.15) across the last two years.

Since 2007, his second year in the big leagues, his 81 wins ranks fifth in the American League.

Overall, the 2011 A.L. All-Star is 87-73 with a 3.89 ERA and 1,250 strikeouts in 218 games.

Tommy Milone, Saugus High graduate, Oakland A’s pitcher

It’s certain that the Angels’ Mike Trout will win the A.L. Rookie of the Year award after his season for the ages. But when the final vote comes out, Milone should finish pretty high.

He was acquired by the A’s in the offseason for N.L. Cy Young Award candidate Gio Gonzalez, but was not considered by baseball experts as the top prospect of the four acquired by Oakland in the trade.

But Milone proved that he has been the major catch in the deal thus far.

The Saugus High graduate was steady from Opening Day to the season’s last day — an afternoon when Oakland shocked the Texas Rangers and took the A.L. West crown.

Milone was a big part of that.

The 25-year-old went 13-10 in 31 starts with a 3.74 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 190 innings.

He tied for second in the A.L. among rookies in wins, was third in innings pitched and third among regular starters in ERA.

“At the beginning of the year,” Milone told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I set as my goals to make the team, stay here all year and, once I was on the team, to get my ERA under 4.00. I’m pretty happy with it.”

The book is not closed either on Milone’s season as the A’s continue in the American League Division Series against the Detroit Tigers.

On Sunday, Milone got the start in Game 2 of the series, and he settled into a solid six-inning performance where he allowed just one run off five hits while he struck out six.

Oakland eventually lost the game 5-4 and Milone was not the pitcher of record.

Milone started five games for Washington in 2011 and is now 14-10 with a 3.75 ERA in parts of two Major League seasons.

Danny Worth, Valencia High graduate, Detroit Tigers infielder

Worth was up and down from Triple-A Toledo to the Detroit Tigers for the third season in a row.

The Tigers like his infield versatility and defense, but are still hoping he comes around with the bat.

The 27-year-old made one error in 226 innings in the field this year and it was of the throwing variety.

In three seasons, he has a .993 fielding percentage.

The Valencia High graduate played in 43 games this season (a career high) for the American League Central Division champions.

He batted .216 (16-for-74) with three doubles and three RBIs with a career-high .330 on-base percentage.

He is also on the team’s roster for its division series against Oakland.

In parts of three big league seasons, he is a career .244 hitter (53-for-217) with two home runs, 10 doubles and 14 RBIs.

Trevor Bauer, Hart High graduate, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher

Bauer, the third overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, came into the season as the No. 5 prospect in all of the minor leagues.

It was only a matter of time before he was brought up to the Major Leagues.

That happened on June 28 and that day, the 21-year-old got a no-decision in his Major League debut — a four-inning start in Atlanta.

In the game, he allowed five hits and two runs, walking three and striking out three.

He earned the first win of his career by blanking the Dodgers over six innings on July 8 in a 7-1 win in Arizona.
He struck out six and allowed two hits in the game.

After a start on July 17 in which he lasted only three innings in a loss to Cincinnati, Bauer was sent back down to Triple-A Reno, where he would finish off a stellar minor league season.

He was named the team’s minor league pitcher of the year.

In the big leagues, he was 1-2 with a 6.06 ERA in four games, striking out 17, but walking 13 in 16 1/3 innings.

But after the season, Diamondbacks owner Ken Kendrick had some tough words about Bauer, which he voiced to Arizona Sports 620.

“I will say this: He is the employee, and in an employer/employee situation it’s incumbent on the employee to make adjustments to satisfy the needs of his employer,” Kendrick said. “And I hope and trust that that will occur.”

Chris Seddon, Canyon High graduate, Cleveland Indians pitcher

Seddon is a baseball survivor, having made his Major League debut in 2007 with Florida, then waiting three seasons before his next big league shot with Seattle.

In 2012, he found himself on a big league field again, this time with the Cleveland Indians.

The Canyon High graduate enjoyed the best season of his big league career, going 1-1 with a 3.67 ERA in 17 games (two starts).

The 28-year-old left-hander finished three games and tossed 34 1/3 innings.

He was called up to the team on Aug. 5 from Triple-A Columbus and started on Aug. 7, going 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, four earned runs and three walks, while striking out two.

He was at his best as a relief pitcher, where he was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 15 appearances.

“He’s got a very resilient arm,” recently fired Indians manager Manny Acta told the Cleveland Plain dealer in September.

Zach Britton, Canyon High, Baltimore Orioles pitcher

Britton missed the entire Spring Training with left shoulder inflammation and started the season in Double-A Bowie and joined the Orioles on July 17.

The 24-year-old former Canyon High baseball player (he graduated from Weatherford High in Texas) went on to spend most of the rest of the season with Baltimore and went 5-3 with a 5.07 ERA in 12 games (11 starts).

The left-hander struck out 53 batters in 60 1/3 innings.

In parts of two seasons, he is 16-14 with a 4.74 ERA in 40 games (39 starts) with 150 strikeouts in 214 2/3 innings.

Britton made the Orioles’ postseason roster and Baltimore is taking on the New York Yankees in an American League Division Series.

Dana Eveland, College of the Canyons, Baltimore Orioles pitcher

The Dodgers traded Eveland to Baltimore before the season and after a strong Spring Training, the 28-year-old started the season in Triple-A Norfolk.

He was eventually called up to the Orioles on May 11 and was with the team until July 27, when he was designated for assignment.

Eveland ended up spending the rest of the year in Norfolk.

With Baltimore, the College of the Canyons product was 0-1 with a 4.73 ERA in 14 games (two starts).

He finished six games and tallied 32 2/3 innings pitched.

He has now pitched in parts of eight big league seasons with Oakland, Milwaukee, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Toronto, the Dodgers and Orioles.

For his career, he is 19-25 with a 5.46 ERA and one save in 114 games.



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