Gregory J. Wooten
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 7", Weight 210 lb.
Greg Wooten peaked at AAA.
Wooten was 8-4 with a 1.51 ERA for Portland State in 1995. He led the Pac-10 Conference north division in ERA by 1.06 over Darin Blood. He made All-Conference though Blood was named Pitcher of the Year. Nationally, he ranked 5th in NCAA Division I in ERA. He wass taken 62nd overall in the 1995 amateur draft, going to the Seattle Mariners early in the third round; Seattle had taken Jose Cruz Jr. and Shane Monahan with their first two picks. He did not pitch in the pro ranks that summer, but had a strong debut in 1996 with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (7-1, 2.47) and Lancaster JetHawks (8-4, 3.80). He tied Ken Cloude for the most wins by a M's farmhand and was 4th with 139 strikeouts (between Brett Hinchliffe and Ivan Montane).
In 1997, he posted a 11-10, 4.47 record for the Memphis Chicks. He tied Cloude, Derrin Ebert and Brandon Reed for 4th in the Southern League in wins and tied Cloude, Julio Ayala and Aaron Scheffer for 4th in the Seattle chain in that department. He battled injury in 1998 and saw limited time with Lancaster (2-2, 7.18) and had Tommy John surgery. Returning partway into the '99 campaign, he was 10-4 with a 4.33 ERA the rest of the way for Lancaster. He tied for 7th in the California League in victories and tied Melvin Bunch, Craig Anderson and Joel Pineiro for third in the Seattle system.
Wooten went 17-3 with a 2.31 ERA for the 2000 New Haven Ravens, walking only 15 in 179 1/3 IP. He was the first minor leaguer with more wins than walks since Elvin Hernandez (17 W, 16 BB) in 1996. He led the Eastern League in wins (3 over Christian Parker), ERA (.08 ahead of Donnie Bridges), complete games (6, tied with Brandon Leese and Bridges) and shutouts (4, tied with Bridges). He was 9th in strikeouts (115, between Sean Douglass and Gary Knotts). Her was named the EL Pitcher of the Year. Among Mariners farmhands, he led in wins (3 over Jeff Heaverlo), shutouts (as many as #2 and #3, Pineiro and J.J. Putz, combined) and ERA (.56 over Rafael Soriano) while placing 8th in whiffs (between Anderson and Justin Kaye). Among all US minor leaguers, he was 8th in ERA, tied for third in complete games and tied for first in wins (with Jose Mieses, Christian Parra, Travis Thompson and Bud Smith). Baseball America rated him as possessing the best control in the EL.
Making it to AAA in 2001, he was 11-8 with a 3.99 ERA for the Tacoma Rainiers. He tied for 4th in the 2001 PCL in wins (the other 8 hurlers with 11 or more wins all wound up in the majors) and led with five complete games (one ahead of Jason Jennings and Scot Shields. In the Seattle system, he tied for fourth in wins and led in complete games (one more than Heaverlo). He tied Carlos Castillo, Dennis Ulacia, Tim Kalita, Sam Marsonek and Taylor Buchholz for the most complete games in the US minors.
In 2002, the tall righty struggled with injury and was 4-6 with a 4.91 ERA for Tacoma and tossed six shutout innings for the AZL Mariners on a rehab stint, wrapping up his pro career. He had gone an impressive 70-38 with a 3.78 ERA in 146 minor league games (145 starts). He walked 218 and fanned 590 in 909 1/3 IP, allowing 948 hits. He had a .648 winning percentage as a pro, had won a Pitcher of the Year in AA and twice led the minor leaguers in a pitching department but never made the majors.