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Jonah Bayliss

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Jonah James Bayliss

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Jonah Bayliss is a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. His name was due to his size - he was 10 1/2 pounds when he was born. His parents ditched their chosen names in favor of Jonah when they realized he was "a whale of a baby" and associated whales with the prophet Jonah.

The Kansas City Royals took Bayliss in the 7th round of the 2002 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Steve Connelly and assigned to the Spokane Indians, where he went 4-8 with a 5.35 ERA. He tied for the Northwest League lead in losses and led in earned runs allowed (42) and homers (9), not an inspiring sign in short-season A ball. In '03, Jonah improved to 7-12, 3.86 with the Burlington Bees and was one loss shy of the Midwest League lead. He was 6-6 with a 4.89 ERA for the 2004 Wilmington Blue Rocks.

Bayliss was moved to the bullpen in 2005 and went 1-2 with 8 saves and a 2.84 ERA for the Wichita Wranglers. That earned him a call-up to Kansas City, where he became the third major leaguer from Trinity College, the most recent since Moe Drabowsky. Bayliss had a 4.63 ERA in 12 appearances for the Royals but allowed only a .167 average and 3.09 BB/9, leaving runners off base for the most part. On December 7, he was dealt with Chad Blackwell to the Pittsburgh Pirates for veteran Mark Redman.

Jonah went 3-3 with 23 saves in 28 tries and a 2.17 ERA for the 2006 Indianapolis Indians, striking out 67 in 58 innings while allowing only 37 hits. This prompted Pittsburgh to call him up in late August when Mike Gonzalez and Tom Gorzelanny were placed on the disabled list and Britt Reames was shipped out. He was 1-1 with a 4.30 ERA for the 2006 Pirates.

Bayliss won the competition for a roster spot in 2007, edging out Josh Sharpless, Marty McLeary and Danny Kolb. All three of those came and went for Pittsburgh while Bayliss remained as the team suffered bullpen woes. When John Wasdin was coming off the Disabled List in late June, though, Bayliss was demoted to Indianapolis. He had a 7.53 ERA in 38 games for the Pirates that year and opponents were hitting .315 against him, earning the nickname "Gas Can" for his inability to get opposing hitters out. Bayliss was 3-2 with a 6.46 ERA in 11 games for Indianapolis and was called back to Pittsburgh when John Van Benschoten was demoted.

Pittsburgh designated Bayliss for assignment in late March 2008 to open a roster spot for Luis Rivas. In 28 games for Indianapolis, he was 0-3 with 3 saves and a 6.00 ERA. The Pirates then traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later.

Sources: 2003-2006 Baseball Almanacs, Minorleaguebaseball.com

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