Anton Kuznetsov

From BR Bullpen

Anton Mikhailovich Kuznetsov

  • Bats Right, Throws Left
  • Height 6' 1", Weight 185 lb.

BR register page

Biographical Information[edit]

Anton Kuznetsov has pitched in the minors and for the Russian national team.

Kuznetsov allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings in the 2014 European Championship U21; only Denis Leonov had a better ERA among Russian qualifiers. [1] He was the youngest player to appear in the 2014 European Championship; the 16-year-old was the second-youngest on a roster, slightly older than Greece's Fotios Louris, but Louris did not appear in a game. Kuznetsov pitched twice for Russia. Against Greek, he relieved Nikita Lobanov with a 14-1 lead and went 1-2-3 against Jamie Lekas, Costa Kapothanasis and Panagiotis Cheilakis. He also replaced Leonov with a 8-3 deficit in the 6th versus Croatia and struck out seven in three innings, but walked three and allowed two hits and two runs (both coming home on a single by Ivan Račić. [2]

In the 2016 European Junior Championship, he was a two-way threat, hitting .286/.318/.571 with seven RBI in six games and posting a 0-1, 1.64 record with 23 K in 11 IP. He led Russia in both RBI and batters whiffed (the next player had 10). He was 9th in the event in slugging (between teammate Nikita Laykov and Jeffrey Arndt), tied for 3rd in RBI, tied for second in triples (two, one behind Richard Brereton), tied for 7th in total bases (12), 5th in ERA (between Niklas Rimmel and Mic van de Ven), 9th in IP and 1st in Ks (8 ahead of Donny Breek and Gytis Morkūnas). [3] The 2016 European Championship U21 did not feature Europe's top teams; in that event, he batted .267/.421/.467 and was 1-0 with one unearned run and 13 K in 7 1/3 IP. Only Dmytro Kiliyevich had more innings with a 0 ERA while he tied Kestas Vilimas for 8th in slugging, tied for 5th in total bases (7), tied for 3rd in walks (4) and was second in K (one behind Petr Balan). [4] He made a third appearance that winter for Russia, in the 2016 European Championship. Though it was his second Euros, he was their second-youngest player, just ahead of Laykov. He went seven innings over two games and allowed eight hits, three walks and six runs (three earned) while whiffing seven. [5]

The same month as the 2016 Euros, he was signed by Philadelphia Phillies scouts Gene Grimaldi and Claudio Scerrato. [6] He had a brilliant pro debut with the GCL Phillies, starting off with 20 1/3 scoreless innings. [7] He finished at 2-1, 0.36 with a 0.79 WHIP and 5 saves. He tied for third in the Gulf Coast League in saves, two behind Tim Naughton and one shy of Jonathan Cheshire. In 2018, he barely pitched for the Williamsport Crosscutters (6 R, 5 ER in 4 IP, 1-1), sidelined by a left knee injury. [8] In 2019, he was 3-1 with a save and a 1.91 ERA in a successful return to Williamsport, holding lefties to a .175 average. The 2020 minor league season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The southpaw only pitched six games for the 2021 Clearwater Threshers (2.79 ERA in 5 G) and FCL Phillies (0 R in 2 1/3 IP, Sv) while battling more injuries. To this point, he had a 1.94 ERA in 41 minor league games, but had lost significant time to injury. Only two Russian-raised players had reached higher levels, though, with Andrei Lobanov in high-A and Alexander Nizov in AA. He was healthy enough to play for Russia that fall, at the 2021 European Championship (the team had missed the 2019 European Championship before reinforcing with several Cubans who got Russian citizenship). His first outing, he relieved Leonov in the 8th with a 7-3 lead over Great Britain, two on and two out. He allowed back-to-back singles to Alex Crosby and Shamoy Christopher to make it a two-run game before striking out Grant Kerry. He began the 9th on a rough note by walking Aaron Singh, yielding a Kennard Dawson single then walking Zach Stroman before Adrián Rodríguez came in. He allowed one inherited run to score but otherwise ended the threat as Russia survived a scare. His second game was better, versus Austria. He took over for James Paton in the 4th with a 5-3 lead, two on and one out and struck out Georg Stemmer then got Tobias Werner on a fly. He struck out 3 of the 4 next four, then walked three in a row before a Stermer sac fly. He retired Werner to end that inning. By the time Dmitry Shtykher took over in the 7th, Russia had a 14-3 edge. His 6.00 ERA was 7th on the 12-man staff, between Alex Lukashevich and Leonov. [9]

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