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Mitch Talbot

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Mitchell R. Talbot

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Mitch Talbot reached AAA in 2007 and led his league in wins, then made his major league debut for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008.

Talbot was picked by the Houston Astros in the 2nd round of the 2002 amateur draft, the 70th overall pick. Scout Doug Deutsch signed him for a $550,000 bonus, too late to appear in the minors that year. He had gone just 2-4 with a 3.09 ERA as a high school senior.

In 2003, Mitch made his pro debut and went 4-4 with a 2.83 ERA. He only walked 11 in 54 innings for the Martinsville Astros. He was 8th in the Appalachian League in ERA. Baseball America rated him the #12 prospect in the league, right behind Evan Meek.

Talbot spent 2004 with the Lexington Legends, where he was 10-10 with a 3.83 ERA. In 2005, he was 8-11 with a 4.34 ERA for the Salem Avalanche. Talbot started 2006 with the Corpus Christi Hooks, going 6-4 with a save and a 3.39 ERA. He struck out 96 in 90 1/3 innings while allowing just four homers. Had he qualified, he would have finished 3rd in the Texas League in ERA. He set a new team record for strikeouts in a game when he whiffed 12, breaking the mark shared by Jason Hirsh and Roger Clemens.

On July 12, Talbot was dealt with Ben Zobrist to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Aubrey Huff. He was 4-3 with a 1.90 ERA after being assigned to the Montgomery Biscuits then threw back-to-back shutouts in the playoffs. Baseball America ranked him as the #12 prospect in the Texas League (between Chris Iannetta and Joe Koshansky) and the #16 prospect in the Southern League (between Alberto Gonzalez and Eric Patterson). The publication also rated him as having the best change-up in the Devil Rays organization.

Talbot spent 2007 with the Durham Bulls, posting a 13-9, 4.53 record (7-2, 3.50 in the second half after a rough debut in AAA). Despite his high ERA, he managed to tie Heath Phillips for the International League lead in victories. He was promoted to the major leagues in September of 2008 after posting an identical win-loss record for Durham in 2008, but lowering his ERA from 4.53 to 3.86. He made his debut on September 15, 2008, in relief of Scott Kazmir, allowing four runs to the Boston Red Sox in three innings of work. In three appearances for the '08 Rays, he was rocked for 16 hits, 11 walks and 12 runs in 9 2/3 IP while striking out five.

He went back to the minor leagues in 2009, but missed a good part of the year with injuries. He made only ten starts in AAA, going 4-4, 4.47 for Durham, and also made brief rehabilitation stops in A-ball and Rookie-ball; he did not pitch at all in the majors. On December 20, he was sent to the Cleveland Indians to complete an earlier deal which had brought C Kelly Shoppach to the Rays.

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