Jason Grant Arnold
- Bats Right Throws Right
- Height 6' 3" Weight 210 lb.
Jason Arnold pitched six years in the minors.
In 1998, as a freshman, Arnold led the Trans America Athletic Conference in saves (12), going 20-2 with a 2.04 ERA. Had he qualified, he would have led in ERA. He made the All-Conference team as the top relief pitcher. The next year, the right-hander remained sharp, going 7-4 with 8 saves and a 2.67 ERA, whiffing 75 in 57 IP. He was again the All-Conference relief pitcher. In 2000, Jason was once again the All-Conference reliever. The Cincinnati Reds took him in the 16th round of the 2000 amateur draft but he did not sign. A starting pitcher as a senior, he went 14-3 with a 1.97 ERA and 150 strikeouts in 119 IP. He was third in the conference in ERA, second in wins (one behind Justin Pope) and second to Pope in strikeouts. He completed his run of All-Conference nods, joining Lenny DiNardo and Pope as the starting pitchers chosen. He was 14th in NCAA Division I in ERA, tied for 7th in wins and 7th in strikeouts, between Kirk Saarloos and Willie Collazo. Baseball America named him a second-team All-American.
Arnold began his pro career at short season A with the Staten Island Yankees. He went 7-2 with a 1.50 ERA and 74 strikeouts. Opponents hit just .157 against him. He was third in the New York-Penn League in ERA, behind only Ross Peeples and Ian Snell. On July 27, he no-hit the Vermont Expos, the league's lone no-hitter that year. He made the league All-Star team alongside Snell as the top right-handed pitchers. Baseball America rated him the #9 prospect in the Yankees chain, the #3 pitcher after Brandon Claussen and Sean Henn.
In July, Arnold was traded in a deal that sent him, Ted Lilly and John-Ford Griffin from the Yankees to the Oakland Athletics. the Yankees got Jeff Weaver from the Detroit Tigers and Detroit picked up Carlos Pena, Franklyn German and Jeremy Bonderman from Oakland. After the deal, Arnold was assigned to the AA Midland RockHounds, where he went 5-1 with a 2.33 ERA and .207 opponent average.
That offseason though, he was on the move again. On December 16, 2002 the A's sent him to the Toronto Blue Jays as part of a four-team trade that netted them Erubiel Durazo. Interestingly enough, he would be joined by both Lilly and Griffin in the Blue Jays system within a year.
Once in the Toronto system, Arnold continued to pitch well. In 2003, he pitched only six games with the AA New Haven Ravens (3-1, 1.53, .152 opponent average) before getting called up to AAA Syracuse Chiefs. He struggled in Syracuse, going 4-8 with a 4.33 ERA.
In 2005, he was moved to the bullpen and appeared in 47 games for Syracuse. He did not rebound well from his injuries, though, posting a 0-4, 6.39 record with 5 saves. The primary problem was 14 home runs served up in 62 IP. He was back in AA with New Hampshire in 2006 where he pitched in only 12 games, 2 of which were starts. He went 0-2 but had an impressive 1.90 ERA. He fanned 29 in 23 2/3 IP while allowing only a .207 average.