Michael William Erb
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 210 lb.
- School San Diego State University
- High School Madison High School
Mike Erb peaked at AAA.
Erb was taken by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 17th round of the 1984 amateur draft but opted for college. He threw a no-hitter in college and set the San Diego State University career strikeout record (the old mark was 237). The California Angels were impressed enough to make him a second-round pick in the 1987 amateur draft, the 43rd overall selection. It was California's third choice that year, following John Orton and David Holdridge; the pick had originally belonged to the Oakland Athletics but had gone to the Angels when the A's signed Reggie Jackson. He was selected in a string of five straight right-handed pitchers, three of whom (Richie Lewis, Roger Smithberg and Jeremy Hernandez) would make the majors.
Erb had a strong pro debut, going 6-3 with a 2.44 ERA for the Salem Angels. He struck out 98 and walked 20 in 85 innings. He was third in the Northwest League in ERA, trailing college teammate Jim Campbell and Rich Holsman, and was second in strikeouts, one behind Eric Gunderson. Erb was named the NWL All-Star right-handed pitcher, beating out Scott Chiamparino (5-4, 2.53), Tom Gordon (9-0, 2.86), Kevin Appier (5-2, 3.04) and Terry Gilmore (7-0, 2.59) among others. Baseball America rated him as the league's #2 prospect, right behind Ken Griffey Jr. and several spots ahead of both Gordon (#5) and Appier (#6).
With the 1988 Palm Springs Angels, Erb fell to 10-7, 4.40 with 62 walks in 108 1/3 innings. He led the California League with 12 balks. In '89, he rebounded to 11-4, 2.69 for the Quad City Angels with 113 hits, 43 walks and 161 whiffs in 147 1/3 innings. In spring training 1990, he was hit in the shin by a drive from Garry Templeton. He healed enough to pitch 22 games, 6 for the Midland Angels (1-1, 5.17, 24 BB in 31 1/3 IP) and 16 for the Edmonton Trappers (4-4, 4.26, 60 BB, 45 K in 82 1/3 IP).
Erb spent all of 1991 in AAA with Edmonton, going 1-0 with five saves and a 3.76 ERA as a reliable reliever. He started 1992 with Edmonton but was rocked for eight runs, six walks and six hits in 2 2/3 IP. He finished the year in the Seattle Mariners chain, ineffective with the Jacksonville Suns (12 H, 5 R in 4 1/3 IP).
Overall, Erb had gone 33-19 with 5 saves and a 3.71 ERA in 114 games in the minors (76 starts). He had 446 strikeouts to 239 walks in 502 innings.