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Boris Bokaj

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Boris Bokaj

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 170 lb.

[edit] Biographical Information

Boris Bokaj has pitched for the Czech national team for over a decade.

In the 2003 Extraliga, Bokaj went 3-4 with a 6.10 ERA as a 16-year-old for the Arrows Ostrava; he was 1 for 15 at the plate. A year later, he was the staff ace, going 4-0 with a 2.20 ERA. In 2005, he was 3-2 with a 1.48 ERA and fanned 52 in 60 2/3 IP. He was 10th in the league in strikeouts and 5th in ERA. He even went 5 for 12 with 3 doubles at the plate.

Bokaj was with the Czech squad for the 2005 Baseball World Cup. The 19-year-old was one of the worse hurlers on a bad staff, going 0-1 with a 16.62 ERA with 13 hits allowed in 4 1/3 IP. He took the loss against the Puerto Rican national team. Only Jan Drabek, normally a position player, had a higher ERA for the Czechs, who made their Baseball World Cup debut.

In 2006, Boris went 2-4 with 3 saves and a 3.01 ERA for Ostrava. The Arrows ace continued to cruise in 2007, going 7-1 with a save and a 2.74 ERA. He tied for the Extraliga lead in complete games (4) and wins, led in innings (82) and tied for 5th in strikeouts (56). In the 2007 European Championship, the right-hander pitched one game, allowing two unearned runs in 5 innings in a no-decision against Austria (the Czech team went on to win).

During the 2008 season, Bokaj went 6-4 with 2 saves and a 2.25 ERA. He was 6th in the league in ERA, innings (76) and opponent average (.199) and was 9th in K (57). During the 2008 World University Championship, he had a 1-1, 2.92 record, getting the lone Czech win (over Lithuania). In the 2008 European Championship Qualifiers, he allowed one run in 5 2/3 IP.

In the 2009 Extraliga, Bokaj was 9-9 with a 2.63 ERA. The Ostrava hurler whiffed 102 in 137 innings. He was 7th in the league in ERA (between Vojtěch Jelínek and Daniel Mráz), 1st in innings and tied Leoš Kubát for second in strikeouts (behind Jon-Jon Robles). Bokaj tossed 4 1/3 shutout innings in the 2009 Baseball World Cup to tie Astros farmhand Jan Řeháček for the best performance of a Czech pitcher.

Boris signed with the Regensburg Legionäre for 2010. On Opening Day, he allowed only 3 hits, 2 walks and one run in 7 2/3 IP to beat the Mannheim Tornadoes. He went 10-1 with a 1.96 ERA for the season. He led the Bundesliga-1 South in ERA (.38 over Markus Winkler), was 3rd in strikeouts (63, behind Dominik Hartinger and René Franke), was second in wins (one behind Winkler), had the best WHIP (1.05, .15 ahead of former major leaguer Dusty Bergman), allowed the lowest average (.181, .043 ahead of Philipp Hoffschild), allowed the lost slugging (.238, .047 ahead of Hoffschild) and gave up the lowest OBP (.294, .011 ahead of Gregor Klinc). He was an easy pick for Pitcher of the Year. In the playoffs, he was 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA. In game 5 of the best-of-5 finals, against Heidenheim Heideköpfe, he tossed four shutout innings in relief of Mike Bolsenbroek to get the win.

In the 2010 European Championship, he got the call against Germany but struggled, allowing six runs (four earned) in eight innings in a complete game loss against Enorbel Marquez. He pitched twice in relief in the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, giving up three unearned runs in two innings against Cuba and tossing two shutout innings in a 10-5 loss to Nicaragua.

The right-hander saw a reduce role with Regensburg in 2011 as they went to four pitchers in regular action with Bolsenbroek, Justin Kuehn and Hoffschild. While he was only third on the talented staff in ERA, he was 5th in the league (between Bergman and Aljoscha Schattmann) and tied for fourth in wins. He was 1-0 with two saves and a 1.74 ERA in their successful playoff role, saving Bolsenbroek's win over the Paderborn Untouchables in game 5 of the finals for another strong relief ending to the year.

Signing with Italy's Montepaschi Grosseto club for 2012, he was 2-2 with a save and a 5.20 ERA in 11 games, battling control problems (22 BB in 27 2/3 IP). In the 2012 European Championship, he dominated in his lone start, holding France (which had five players in the lineup who had played or would play in the US minors) to five hits and one walk in a complete game, fanning 10 in a 6-0 win over Owen Ozanich. He was the only hurler with a complete game shutout in that year's Euros. He was on the Czech roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers but he was one of four pitchers they did not use from their 13-man staff.

Back in Regensburg for the 2013 season, he was 3-1 with a 3.57 ERA then had a 1-1, 2.04 record in the playoffs. He dropped game 3 of the finals to the Solingen Alligators to fall behind 2 games to 1 but Regensburg won game 4 and Bokaj allowed two runs in four innings in the finale as they won yet another pennant. In 2014, he returned to the Extraliga for the first time in five years. He was 7-1 with a 4.01 ERA for Ostrava. He was 4th in the league in opponent OBP (.303), had the lowest walk rate, tied Petr Minařík for 9th in strikeouts (52) and tied Petr Minařík, Tomáš Duffek and T.J. Macy for 4th in wins.

In the 2014 European Championship, he again got one start, again versus France. He was not as dominant as in 2012 but pitched well enough (6 H, 1 BB, 2 R in 5 IP) for the win; Duffek relieved and finished up the game. He had a 6-4, 3.07 record for the 2015 Arrows. He was 4th in ERA (between Minařík and Marek Bošanský), allowed the lowest slugging percentage (.288), was 4th in average allowed (.233, between Jan Tomek and Minařík), gave up the lowest OBP (.278, .003 ahead of Radim Chroust), was 10th in strikeouts (60) and tied for 8th in wins. He also hit .294/.351/.294 in limited time at the plate. He fell to 1-2, 6.50 in the playoffs, though.

Bokaj was with the Czech team for the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers in March 2016, but did not pitch (they only used 7 of their 13 hurlers). He was the only pitcher to be with the Czechs in both the 2013 and 2017 qualifiers and not appear in either tournament.

His repertoire consists of a fastball, curveball and forkball.

[edit] Sources

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