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Mike Kusiewicz

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Michael Kusiewicz

  • Bats Right, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 2", Weight 185 lb.

BR minors page

Contents

[edit] Biographical information

Mike Kusiewicz has pitched for Team Canada in several major events, including the 2004 Olympics. He is in his 14th minor league season in 2008 and twice has led his league in ERA.

[edit] Prospect

Kusiewicz led Canada's junior team in the 1994 World Junior Championship, going 1-1 but not allowing an earned run in leading the tournament in ERA. He was taken by the Colorado Rockies in the 8th round of the 1994 amateur draft. Mike debuted as a pro with the 1995 Asheville Tourists, going 8-4 with a 2.06 ERA and a 1.03 WHIP. He made one appearance with the Salem Avalanche, allowing one run in six innings. He led the 1995 South Atlantic League in ERA. Baseball America rated him as Colorado's #9 prospect.

In 1996, Kusiewicz was 0-1 with a save and a 5.09 ERA for Salem and 2-4 with a 3.30 ERA for the New Haven Ravens. Baseball America ranked him as the #10 Rockies prospect. He had a fine 1997, going 8-6 with a 2.52 ERA for Salem but 2-4, 6.35 for New Haven. He was third in the Carolina League in ERA behind Cliff Politte and Jim Crowell.

Kusiewicz had his best season in 1998. With New Haven, he was 14-7 with a 2.32 ERA, striking out 151 in 178 2/3 IP while walking just 35. He led the Eastern League in hit batsmen, 16. More importantly, he not only led the EL in ERA (by .48) but led all the high minors in ERA. He was 7th overall in the affiliated minors in ERA and tied for 11th in wins. He led Rockies farmhands in wins and ERA. He lost the EL Most Valuable Pitcher Award to Brent Stentz but was named the Rockies Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America. The publication also said that along with Derrick Gibson, Kusiewicz "looked to be next in line to help the big club." They rated him the #14 prospect in the organization.

[edit] Injury

Unfortunately, just when his career was at its peak, he suffered a major injury and barely pitched at all in 1999. The 22-year-old southpaw only appeared on a rehab stint with the AZL Rockies, going 1-3 with a 5.47 ERA.

[edit] Around the affiliated minors

Kusiewicz then began to bounce around in the minors, winding up with 5 organizations in the next five years. The Minnesota Twins claimed him off waivers but he never pitched in their system, being waived once more. This time, the Toronto Blue Jays took him. He went 7-9 with a 3.63 ERA for the Tennessee Smokies, clearly not the pitcher he had been prior to the injury.

In 2001, Kusiewicz was dealt to the Boston Red Sox for future considerations. He split time between the Trenton Thunder (4-5, 3.44, 19 BB, 92 K in 89 IP) and Pawtucket Red Sox (2-2, 4.66). The next year, he was again with Trenton (5-3, 3.29, 1.06 WHIP) and Pawtucket (2-5, 4.99).

A free agent, Kusiewicz was signed by the Oakland Athletics. He went 3-1 with a 4.13 ERA and .203 opponent average in 27 games for the Sacramento River Cats, his best AAA stint. He was 0-1 with a save and a 4.30 ERA in 18 outings for the Midland RockHounds. He also made his debut with the senior national team in the 2003 Olympic Qualifiers. Canada made it to the 2004 Olympics, something the more high-profile Team USA did not accomplish.

Mike moved to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2004 as a free agent and went 0-1 with a save and a 4.14 ERA for the High Desert Mavericks. Opponents hit .305 but he did strike out 44 in 37 innings on the hill.

[edit] Olympics

Used as a LOOGY, Kusiewicz made four appearances for Canada in the 2004 Olympics, working a total of two innings and allowing one run. The run came in the 11-2 blowout loss to the Japanese national team in the Bronze Medal game.

[edit] Independent leagues, national team

Out of Organized Baseball, Kusiewicz then proceeded to a string of jobs with Canadian teams in the independent leagues. He was 5-0 with a 2.93 ERA for the 2005 Edmonton Cracker-Cats and 3-1 with a 3.72 ERA in four games for them in 2006.

Kusiewicz was back with Canada for another Olympic qualifier in 2006, when the COPABE ran its Americas Qualifier. Canada finished in the top four to earn a spot in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament but failed to lock up an Olympic berth as they did not finish in the top two. Used as a LOOGY once more, he pitched four games - for a total of 1 1/3 innings and five batters faced. He allowed one walk, struck out two and was charged with an unearned run.

Mike moved to the Winnipeg Goldeyes in 2007 and went 7-4 with a 4.20 ERA while walking 20 in 83 2/3 innings. He was 8th in the Northern League in ERA.

Kusiewicz was with Canada for the 2007 Baseball World Cup, making four brief appearances. He worked 1 2/3 innings but allowed three hits, three walks and two runs as he had the worst ERA on Canada's staff. He fared somewhat better in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament in which Canada did get their slot in the Beijing Games. In four appearances, he allowed two runs (both unearned) and no hits in two innings. He saved two games to tie Rafael Diaz for the tourney lead. Kusiewicz's two saves came in key games as they were against the other two teams that made it to Beijing from the tournament. He replaced Steve Green in the 10th inning against Taiwan with a 6-5 lead, two on and one out and got Yi-Chuan Lin to hit into a game-ending double play. Against the South Korean national team, he entered in the 9th with a 4-3 lead, one on and two out, replacing T.J. Burton. He got In-sung Cho to ground out to end that contest.

Kusiewicz became Director of Player Operations for the new Ottawa Rapidz in 2008 as well as one of their pitchers. Mike also runs baseball camps. Drafted out of high school, he went to college later in his playing career.

[edit] Sources

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