Jake Odorizzi

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Jacob Todd Odorizzi

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Jake Odorizzi reached the majors with the Kansas City Royals in 2012.

As a high school senior, Odorizzi was 14-0 with a 0.08 ERA, allowing just 1 earned run over nearly 90 innings. He was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the supplemental first round of the 2008 amateur draft. Despite an opportunity to play baseball and football at the University of Louisville, he was signed by scout Harvey Kuenn Jr. for $1.06 million. He made his pro debut that summer with the AZL Brewers.

In December 2010, Odorizzi was traded to the Royals with Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain, and Jeremy Jeffress for Zack Greinke, Yuniesky Betancourt, and cash. He reached the majors as a September call-up in 2012, and he made his big league debut on September 23rd, making a start against the Cleveland Indians. He gave up 3 earned runs over 5 1/3 innings, taking the loss. He did not last long with the Royals after that, as on December 9th, they packaged him with Wil Myers, Mike Montgomery and Patrick Leonard in a deal to the Tampa Bay Rays for pitchers James Shields and Wade Davis and IF Elliot Johnson.

Odorizzi made 7 appearances for Tampa Bay in 2013, including 4 starts, and went 0-1, 3.94. He spent the bulk of the year with the AAA Durham Bulls, for whom he went 9-6, 3.33 in 22 starts. He struck out 124 opponents in 124 1/3 innings in the International League. He then made the Rays' starting rotation out of spring training in 2014. In his first outing of the year on April 4th, he defeated the Texas Rangers, 8-1, for his first major league win. he had a fine rookie season, making 31 starts and logging 168 innings in going 11-13, 4.13. In 2015, he missed a few starts due to injury, but still pitched 169 1/3 innings in 28 starts. His record was 9-9 and his ERA improved to 3.35. He had struck out 174 batters as a rookie, but this went down to 150 in his second year as he was less focused on trying to overpower batters, and more on making good pitches.

On May 29, 2016, he had the finest start of his career thus far, but was still charged with a loss against the New York Yankees. He was perfect through the first five innings until Dustin Ackley reached on an error by SS Brad Miller with one out in the 6th. The Yankees did not have a hit until one out in the 7th when Brett Gardner drew a walk on a full count and Starlin Castro followed with a home run. Unfortunately for Jake, it was enough to give the Yanks a 2-1 win, even though they did not record another hit in the game (Odorizzi left after 7 innings). It was the first time they had won a game with a single hit since 1914. He went 10-6, 3.69 in 33 games that season, pitching 187 2/3 innings, a career high. He followed that with a very similar year in 2017 when he made 28 starts and ended up at 10-8, 4.14 with 127 strikeouts in 143 1/3 innings.

On February 17, 2018, Odorizzi was traded to the Minnesota Twins in return for minor league infielder Jermaine Palacios. The Twins were scrambling to find experienced starters as spring training opened, after learning that ace Ervin Santana would be unavailable to start the season. It was not a particularly good season for him, except for a start against the Yankees on September 12th when he held them hitless until one out in the 8th, when he issued a walk to Luke Voit and a run-scoring double to Greg Bird. He was lifted from the game at point, having run up a very high pitch count in his bid for immortality, but still ended up a 3-1 winner. He went 7-10 4.49 in 32 starts, but followed that up with a very good season in 2019. That year, the Twins bounced back to win over 100 games and a division title, and while it was their hitters who carried them by setting a new team home run record, Odorizzi was part of a group of starters that did enough to ensure that all these long balls translated into wins. In 30 starts, he was 15-7, 3.51, logging 159 innings and striking out 178 batters. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time. He made his postseason debut when he started Game 3 of the Division Series against the Yankees on October 7th. He did all right, allowing just 2 runs in 5 innings, but was still charged with the 5-1 loss which completed a sweep at the hands of the Bronx Bombers. He was slated to become a free agent after the season, but surprised most observers by accepting a qualifying offer from the Twins worth $17.8 million, missing out on a market in which solid starting pitchers were receiving large multi-year deals. In his third season with the Twins in 2020, he made just 4 starts, going 0-1, 6.59.

He became a free agent after his unimpressive 2020 season, and found it tough to find a team, waiting until the first week of March, 2021, to find a team, and then signing a two-year deal with the Houston Astros. In his first season, he went 6-7, 4.21 in 24 games, including 23 starts, pitching 104 2/3 innings. In the postseason, he was moved to the bullpen as a long reliever and appeared twice, pitching 4 innings in Game 2 of the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox on October 16th. Luis Garcia had started the game but gave up 4 runs in the 1st and was replaced by Odorizzi after walking the first batter in the 2nd. While he gave up 4 runs in his 4 innings, the fact he could pitch until the end of the 5th spared some more important relievers for future games. In the World Series against the Atlanta Braves, his only appearance came in Game 1 on October 26th, when once again he was asked to come in early in a game after the starter had been chased quickly, in this case Framber Valdez who had given up 5 runs over the first two innings. Jake came in in the 4th and pitched 2 1/3 innings, giving up no runs on 1 hit and striking out 5 batters. He started the 2022 season strong, going 3-2, 3.38 over his first 6 starts, but on May 16th, he had to leave a start against the Boston Red Sox at the end of the 5th inning when he slipped leaving the mound in an attempt to cover first base, and had to be carted off the field. An MRI revealed damage to his tendons and ligaments, but not a torn Achilles heel, as had been initially feared. He would still be out for a prolonged period, however. He came back on July 4th And made 5 starts during the month, bringing his season totals to 4-3, 3.75 in 12 starts. On August 2nd, in a rare deal between contending teams at the trading deadline, he was sent to the Atlanta Braves in return for reliever Will Smith. He went 2-3, 5.24 in 10 starts for Atlanta and also appeared in one game in relief in the Division Series, which the Braves lost to the Philadelphia Phillies. On November 9th, he was traded again, this time to the Texas Rangers, in return for P Kolby Allard.

He never got to pitch for Texas in 2023 as he was diagnosed with right arm fatigue in spring training, and then a few days into the season underwent surgery on his shoulder, putting him on the shelf for the rest of the year.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL All-Star (2019)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2019)

Related Sites[edit]