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Scott Baker (bakersc02)

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Timothy Scott Baker

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[edit] Biographical Information

Scott Baker has pitched in the majors since 2006, when he made his debut for the Minnesota Twins.

Baker was an All-State pitcher in high school in 2000. In 2001, he had a 6-2, 4.05 record as a college freshman at Oklahoma State University. He went 6-3 with a 4.23 ERA as a sophomore. In his junior season, Scott had a 10-5, 3.79 record with 29 BB in 112 IP. He tied two other hurlers for the Big 12 Conference lead in wins and made the All-Conference team. Scouted by Gregg Miller, the Minnesota Twins took him in the 2nd round of the 2003 amateur draft and signed him for a $600,000 bonus.

Baker made his professional debut with the Quad City River Bandits, going 3-1 with a 2.49 ERA and an impressive 47 K to 8 BB in 50 2/3 IP. Scott climbed the Twins ladder in 2004, making stops with the Fort Myers Miracle (4-2, 2.40, 6 BB and 37 K in 45 IP), New Britain Rock Cats (5-3, 2.43, 72 K and 13 BB, .173 opponent batting average in 69 2/3 IP) and the Rochester Red Wings (1-3, 4.97), reaching AAA in his first full season in the minors. Baseball America labeled him the 12th-best starting pitcher prospect in baseball and the #17 prospect in the Eastern League.

In 2005, Scott had a 5-8, 3.01 mark for Rochester, with a .198 average by left-handers, 1.74 BB/9 and 7.15 K/9. He led the International League in ERA and made his big-league debut with the Twins, going 3-3 with a 3.35 ERA in 10 solid outings.

Baker struggled badly in several stints with the 2006 Twins (5-8, 6.37, .324 opponent average, 17 HRA in 83 1/3 IP) but did well with Rochester (5-4, 2.67), splitting his year almost evenly between the two clubs. He became a full-time member of the Twins starting rotation in 2007, when he started 23 games with a 9-9 record. He tied for 7th in the 2007 AL in complete games (2) and tied for 5th in shutouts (1) while posting a 4.26 ERA. He spent all of 2008 in Minnesota, improving to 11-4, 3.45, in 28 starts and 172 innings. He was 8th in the 2008 AL in ERA (between Joe Saunders and Félix Hernández), 5th in WHIP (1.18, between James Shields and Tim Wakefield) and 7th in K/BB ratio (between Shields and Andy Sonnanstine) as one of the league's elite starters.

He was the Twins' ace in 2009, going 15-9 and reaching 200 innings for the first time but his ERA rose to 4.37 and his ERA+ fell from 122 to 100. He tied Jon Lester for 10th in the 2009 AL in wins, was 7th in WHIP (1.19, between Jarrod Washburn and Josh Beckett), was 7th in low walk rate and 7th in K/BB rate (between Lester and Brett Anderson) but also was tied for 4th in homers allowed (with John Danks) and 5th in earned runs allowed (97). He started the one-game playoff with the Detroit Tigers that gave the team the AL Central title, but as a result did not start any of the games in the ALDS against the New York Yankees, as the Twins were swept in three games; he had been slated to start Game 4, had it been necessary.

In 2010, he had another solid year with the Twins, going 12-9, with a 4.49 ERA in 29 starts. He continued to show very good control, with 148 strikeouts against 43 walks, but did give up 186 hits in 170 1/3 innings, after giving up less than a hit per inning in his three previous seasons. He was 6th in the 2010 AL in K/BB ratio (between Francisco Liriano and Hernández) but did not make the leaders in any other departments this time. He made his first postseason appearance that year, pitching 2 1/3 innings in relief in Game 3 of the ALDS, which Minnesota lost 6-1 to the Yankees.

The Twins tumbled all the way to last place in the AL Central in 2011, but Baker was their most effective pitcher, with an 8-6 record and a 3.14 ERA - the best of his career - in 23 games. However elbow issues cost him most of the second half, limiting him to 24 innings after the All-Star break. He headed into spring training in 2012 with confidence that these issues were in the past, but he felt discomfort anew after a few Grapefruit League starts and was placed on the disabled list to begin the year. Then, worse news came on April 11th, when it was announced that he required Tommy John surgery to repair a tendon in his elbow and would miss the entire season as a result, having only pitched a third of an inning in Class A.

The Chicago Cubs signed Baker to a one-year contract on November 13, 2012, guaranteeing him $5.5 million with another $1.5 million in potential performance bonuses. They were expecting him to be ready for the start of the 2013 season, although that proved to be way too optimistic. He began a rehabilitation assignment in the Midwest League in mid-July that year. He did pitch for the Cubs in September, making 3 starts with nor record but a good 3.60 ERA in 15 innings, giving the team some hope that he could contribute the following year. However, in full rebuilding mode, the Cubs opted not to re-sign him and it was as a member of the Seattle Mariners that he headed into spring training in 2014. He pitched poorly, however, with a 6.75 ERA in 4 starts, and was handed his release on March 24th. He signed a AAA contract with the Texas Rangers the following day. He ended up making 25 appearances for the Rangers in 2014, including 8 starts, with a record of 3-4, 5.47 in 80 2/3 innings.

Sources: 2004-2007 Baseball Almanacs, MLB.com

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2009)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (2009)

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