Scott Adam Rice
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 6", Weight 225 lb.
- High School Royal High School (Simi Valley)
- Debut April 1, 2013
- Final Game June 8, 2014
- Born September 21, 1981 in Simi Valley, CA USA
Scott Rice made the majors in 2013 at age 31, 14 years after being a first-round draft pick.
He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the supplemental 1st round of the 1999 amateur draft with the 44th overall pick, obtained by the Orioles for losing Eric Davis to free agency. He was signed by scout Gil Kubski and made his pro debut that summer. That was only the start of a long and arduous trek to the major leagues, which he finally reached 14 years later when he made the New York Mets' Opening Day roster in 2013. In between, he had been part of a half-dozen organizations, had had to pitch in independent ball, and had come close to hanging up his spikes on a number of occasions. By the time he made it to The Show, the players drafted right before and after him (Jimmy Gobble and Rob Purvis) were both out of pro ball.
1999-2006: Orioles chain
Rice was 6-2 with 80 strikeouts in 61 innings as a high school senior. He made a miserable pro debut for a first-rounder, going 1-4 with a 10.38 ERA and 2.56 WHIP for the 1999 GCL Orioles. He improved somewhat in 2000, with a 1-6, 5.21 record and 48 walks in 57 innings. He tied Brian Almeida, Ryan Ewin, Darwin Marrero and Danny Sauer for the Gulf Coast League lead in losses and easily led in walks, 14 more than anyone else. He continued to progress with the 2001 Bluefield Orioles, going 4-3 with a 4.12 ERA and walking 28 in 63 1/3 innings. He took plenty of losses in 2002, with the Aberdeen Ironbirds (1-7, Sv, 4.47) and Delmarva Shorebirds (0-6, 3 Sv, 5.40). He tied for second in the O's chain in losses, one behind Jay Spurgeon. He also tied for third in the New York-Penn League in defeats.
Rice was moved to the bullpen in 2003 and the move paid off-big time, as he was excellent for Delmarva (4-1, 5 Sv, 0.94, 21 H, 12 BB, 53 K in 47 2/3 IP) and the Frederick Keys (1-3, 3.19 in 25 G). He was 4th in the Baltimore system with 57 appearances. He spent all of 2004 with the Bowie Baysox, going 6-5 with a save and a 3.66 ERA. He was 4th in the Eastern League with 11 wild pitches. Back with Bowie for 2005, he was 4-1 with a save and a 3.27 ERA in 57 games. He tied Justin Pope for second in the Eastern League in appearances, one behind Ryan Cameron, and tied Aaron Rakers for the lead in the Baltimore farm chain. He got to AAA with the '06 Ottawa Lynx and went 3-4 with a save and a 3.86 ERA in 52 games. He was 6th in the 2006 International League in games pitched. It would still be seven more years until he got to the majors, though.
2007-2012: Eight organizations in six years
Rice signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers but missed almost all of 2007 with a left elbow injury. The tall southpaw made appearances that year for the AZL Rangers (0 R, 7 K in 4 IP), Clinton Lumber Kings (0 R, 4 K in 4 IP) and Frisco RoughRiders (0 R in 2 IP). He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for 2008 but was let go after undergoing surgery. Picked up by the independent Long Island Ducks, he bombed, going 2-2 with 23 hits and 18 runs in 10 1/3 innings. He split 2009 between the independent Newark Bears (2-1, 9.00 in 9 G) and the San Diego Padres' San Antonio Missions (1-4, 7.36, 1.88 WHIP in 25 G).
In 2010, Scott signed with the Colorado Rockies and returned to being healthy and at least somewhat effective for the first time in four years. He pitched for the Tulsa Drillers (2-0, 4 Sv, 0.96, .88 WHIP in 35 G) and Colorado Springs Sky Sox (0-1, 3 Sv, 6.75 in 23 G). He tied Paul Bargas for the most appearances by a Colorado farmhand that summer. The Chicago Cubs signed him for 2011 but released him in spring training. He had his third stint with an indy team, going 1-0 with a save and a 2.45 ERA in 11 games for the York Revolution. LA then gave him another try and he did well for the Chattanooga Lookouts (4-4, Sv, 1.95 in 34 G). With the 2012 Albuquerque Isotopes, he went 2-3 with 9 saves and a 4.40 ERA in 54 outings, only his second full year at AAA and the first in six years. He tied Cory Burns for 6th in the 2012 Pacific Coast League in outings. He had now pitched 480 minor league games, going 39-55 with 30 saves and a 4.08 ERA.
2013: The majors
He finally got to play in the Show on April 1, 2013, when he pitched a perfect 9th inning on Opening Day, striking out Nick Hundley and Cameron Maybin and getting Will Venable on a ground out to close out a 11-2 Mets win over the San Diego Padres. Rice ended up spending the entire season with the Mets, getting into 73 games in relief, with a record of 4-5, 3.71. He pitched 51 innings, giving up only 42 hits, walking 27 and striking out 41. His first big league decision came on April 7th, a win against the Miami Marlins; he pitched a scoreless top of the 9th with the Mets trailing, 3-2, then in the bottom of the inning, Marlon Byrd drove in 2 runs with a one-out single to reverse the score and give Scott his first career win. He was the major league leader for games pitched in early September, but he had been pitching with a sports hernia for a couple of weeks, and after his appearance on September 3rd, the Mets decided to have him undergo surgery, ending his year.