Pat Neshek

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Patrick John Neshek

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Biographical Information[edit]

Sidearming right-hander Pat Neshek grew up in the Minneapolis, MN suburbs and became one of three Minnesota-raised members of the Minnesota Twins on the 2006 playoff roster (Joe Mauer and Glen Perkins were the others).

Amateur career[edit]

Pat was an All-State pitcher in high school. As a freshman in college, he only went 3-8 with 2 saves and a 4.63 ERA, but averaged a strikeout per inning. In 2001, he was 4-8 for Butler University but struck out 118 in 85 innings. He set a school record for strikeouts in a season and in a game (18 on April 15 against the University of Detroit) and led the Midwestern Collegiate Conference in batters fanned. He made the Cape Cod League All-Star team that year. In 2002, Neshek was 4-6 with a 3.08 ERA and 94 K's in 88 IP. His 280 strikeouts made him Butler's all-time leader despite his 11-22 record in college.

Minor league career[edit]

Pat was drafted in the 6th round of the 2002 amateur draft by the Minnesota Twins. He debuted with the Elizabethton Twins and dazzled, going 0-2 with a 0.99 ERA and 15 saves. Opponents hit just .141 against him and he had a .70 WHIP. He struck out 41 batters in 27 1/3 innings. He was one save behind league leader Fernando Tadefa.

Neshek moved quickly through the Twins chain. In 2003, he went 3-2 with 14 saves and a 0.52 ERA for the Quad City River Bandits; opponents hit .165, his WHIP remained under 1 and he fanned 53 batters in 34 1/3 IP. Promoted to the Fort Myers Miracle, Pat had a 4-1 record, two saves and a 2.15 ERA in 20 games. HE allowed a .201 average and struck out 29 batters in 29 1/3 innings while keeping his WHIP under one. He finished up with the New Britain Rock Cats, going 1-1 with one save and a 5.87 ERA in five games.

Neshek split 2004 between Fort Myers (0-1, 10 Sv, 2.95, .222 opponent average, only 2 BB in 18 1/3 IP and 19 K) and New Britain (2-1, 2 Sv, 3.82, .252 average allowed, 38 K in 35 1/3 IP). He spent all of 2005 with the Rock Cats and went 6-4 with 24 saves and a 2.19 ERA. He struck out 95 in 82 1/3 IP in 55 games and lowered his WHIP back under one. He led the Twins system in saves.

Pat went 6-2 with a 1.95 ERA for the 2006 Rochester Red Wings and struck out 87 while walking only 14 in 60 innings. He finished 4th in the minors in strikeouts per inning by a reliever, the highest for anybody pitching in AAA. That led to his promotion to the majors. Baseball America rated him as the top relief pitching prospect (and #16 overall prospect) from the International League that year and he made the IL All-Star team as the top reliever.

Major leagues[edit]

Pat went 4-2 with a 2.19 ERA in 32 games for the Twins in 2006, fanning 53 and walking just 6 in 37 innings, allowing only 23 hits. After an indifferent collegiate career, he had dazzled in the minors and now was doing so in the major leagues.

At the start of the 2015 season with the Houston Astros, he went 24 games before issuing his first walk, which came on June 7th. It was the second longest such streak in major league history: in 1991, Mark Eichhorn had not issued a walk in his first 30 appearances, a mark which Kenley Jansen tied in 2017.

He is listed as a switch-hitter, but that dates back to his high school days. He never had a plate appearance in college or in the majors, although he did get a hit in his only career at-bat in the minors in 2011. Batting right-handed against lefty Eric Stults, he singled. Asked about his batting skills around the 2017 All-Star Game, in which he pitched a scoreless inning, he said that he doubts he could still hit left-handed by this point and expressed the hope that he never gets a chance to prove it, as it would most likely result in an "ugly strikeout".

Hobbies and website[edit]

Neshek is an avid collector of sports and other memorabilia and often writes about his latest acquisitions, as well as life as a major-leaguer, at Patneshek.com.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL All-Star (2014 & 2017)

Sources[edit]

2001-2007 Baseball Almanacs, MLB.com, USA Today website

Further Reading[edit]

  • Ted Berg: "Why an 11-year MLB reliever with zero career at-bats is listed as a switch-hitter", "For the Win!", USA Today Sports, July 12, 2017. [1]
  • Gabe Lacques: "All-Stars like Pat Neshek know their next trip is to the trade block", USA Today Sports, July 12, 2017. [2]

Related Sites[edit]