James Eugene Magrane
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 200 lb.
- School University of Iowa
- High School Ottumwa High School
He was selected by the New York Mets in the 33rd round of the 1996 amateur draft but chose to attend the University of Iowa instead. He later signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and played seven seasons in their organization.
He made his pro debut in 2000, going 12-5 with a 2.76 ERA for the Charleston RiverDogs with 162 strikeouts to 43 walks in 173 innings, excellent for an undrafted pitcher. He led all Devil Rays minor leaguers in both wins and ERA and placing second in whiffs behind Neal Frendling. He tied for 5th in the South Atlantic League in wins and 6th in strikeouts. He was 4th in ERA, .03 behind Chin-Hui Tsao, who beat him out as the SAL All-Star right-handed pitcher.
Magrane was 8-12 with a 2.97 ERA for the 2001 Orlando Rays. He tied Luke Hudson for second in the Southern League behind Rick Guttormson and was 5th in ERA. He led the loop in innings pitched (182 2/3 IP). In 2002, Magrane pitched for Orlando (0-3, 3.09) and the AAA Durham Bulls (7-8, 5.99 in his AAA debut). While he had made it to AAA the year he turned 24, he would not advance any further. He led the 2002 International League in wild pitches (13).
Magrane began 2003 with Durham and went 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in two games; on May 26, he set a team record of six home runs allowed, versus the Charlotte Knights. Demoted to Orlando, he was 10-6 with a 3.26 ERA and was a Southern League midseason All-Star for the second time. He was 7th in the SL in ERA. Returning to Durham for the playoffs, he came up with two big postseason wins, including the IL pennant clincher over the Pawtucket Red Sox on September 11, when he gave up one run in six games.
The Iowa native was back on the AA-AAA shuttle in 2004, pitching for the Montgomery Biscuits (1-2, 6.35) and Durham (8-5, 3.93). In '05, he was 1-5 with a 6.68 ERA for Durham and 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA for Montgomery in his worst season yet.
Magrane bounced back in 2006 with Montgomery (11-8, 2.98) and Durham (1-4, 5.70). He spent 2007 in the Washington Nationals chain, making his usual journey between the top two tiers of the minors. He was 6-8 with a 3.99 ERA for the Harrisburg Senators and 1-2 with a 4.15 ERA for the Columbus Clippers.
He went 15-4 with a 2.70 ERA and 134 strikeouts for the Patriots in 2009 and was named Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year. He led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts and took the first pitching Triple Crown in league history.
Magrane moved on to Taiwan in 2010, playing for the Brother Elephants of the CPBL. On March 20th, he made his debut for the club, tossing 7 shutout innings to outduel Wei-Lun Pan of the Uni-President Lions 1-0 on Opening Day. For the year, he went 11-9 but with a 2.25 ERA, second-best in the 2010 CPBL behind Carlos Castillo. He tied Chien-Fu Yang and Itsuki Shoda for third in wins, behind Castillo and Orlando Román. In the 2010 Taiwan Series, Jim allowed two runs in 16 2/3 IP and won games one and four as the Elephants swept the favored Sinon Bulls. He took home the Taiwan Series MVP for his efforts. It was the fourth straight year an American hurler won that honor, as he followed Nelson Figueroa (2007) and Luther Hackman (2008 and 2009).
Coming off his success in Taiwan, Jim went to a higher Asian league for 2011, signing with the SK Wyverns. He started their second game, April 3, and was roughed up for three runs and five hits in two innings before being relieved by Hyo-joon Ko. SK rallied to win, 5-3, as Magrane got a no-decision. He only had a 2-6, 5.37 record before being let go. He signed back with the Patriots and was 3-3 with a 5.19 ERA.
Returning to the Lions in 2012, he fell to 11-12, 4.08. He tied Ta-Yuan Kwan and Matt DeSalvo for third in wins (behind Yuya Kamada and Jon Leicester), was second in losses (behind Chi-Wei Lin), was third in innings (165 1/3, behind Kamada and Leicester), led in runs allowed (93), led in earned runs (75) and led in starts (28).
Switching countries again in 2013, he was 10-3 with a 2.84 ERA for T&A San Marino. He was 4th in the Italian Baseball League in wins (trailing Jose Sanchez, Tiago Da Silva and Roberto Corradini) and was 8th with 89 strikeouts (between Riccardo De Santis and Enorbel Marquez. He struggled in the 2013 European Cup (7 R in 8 1/3 IP). In the 2013 Italian Series, he started game one and did very well (1 R in 7 IP) but was matched by Yorman Bazardo; in the 8th, he was relieved by Darwin Cubillan, who lost in extra innings. He came back with two more gems, though. In game 3, he allowed one run in 7 to beat Bazardo and prevent San Marino from being eliminated. He came back after one day off to start game five and shut out Rimini with two hits in seven innings before Chris Cooper and Cubillan closed out the win to give San Marino the title. He was named Series MVP.