Yannick Gontier

From BR Bullpen

Yannick Gontier

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 4", Weight 205 lb.

Biographical Information[edit]

Yannick Gontier debuted in Belgium's First Division in 2005 but saw scant action his first two seasons. He became a regular in 2007, still only 18 years old, and hit .304/.391/.429 while going 1-3 with 7 saves, a 2.41 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings. He pitched for Belgium in the 2007 European Junior Championship, allowing 4 runs (2 earned) in 8 1/3 IP. Only Jamie Verheyleweghen had a lower ERA on the Belgian staff.

Gontier went 3-6 with 6 saves and a 3.16 ERA in 2008 while batting only .141/.212/.179. At age 20 in 2009, he went 4-11 with 18 saves and a 3.57 ERA; he was 7 for 35 with 8 walks at the plate. He was on Belgium's team for the 2010 European Championship but did not get into a game. In the 2011 First Division, he was 6-3 with a 2.97 ERA and hit .175/.250/.250. The Borgerhout Squirrels hurler was 5th in the league in IP (94, between T.J. Antonacci and Derek Bondo), 6th in strikeouts (76), tied for 5th in wins and tied for second in games pitched (19, 12 of them starts). In the 2011 European Championship Qualifiers, he shut out Slovakia for 6 innings but allowed the first two runners on in the 7th and was relieved by Yannick Sel; Slovakia made it a 7-run inning but Belgium rallied for a 10-7 win.

In 2012, he was sharper still at 10-1, 2.77 with 74 K in 94 1/3 IP; his offensive time was down but he hit well in his limited time at the plate (2 for 7, HR). He was 8th in the league in ERA but tied for the lead in strikeouts and tied Kenny Vandenbranden for the win lead. In the 2012 European Championship, he threw 140 pitches in a start against France, allowing 14 hits, 3 walks and 9 runs (7 earned) while fanning 7 in 8 IP. Frédéric Hanvi's homer in the bottom of the 9th broke a 8-8 tie and gave Gontier the loss in his long day of work.

Gontier was 7-2 with a 4.63 ERA in 2013 and hit .302/.407/.419; he tied Vandenbranden for 5th in wins. Mostly in relief with the 2014 Squirrels, he was 4-0 with two saves and a 2.18 ERA in 17 games (hitting .161/.230/.196) to help the team win its first title in 57 years. He was 4th in the league in ERA, second in games pitched (one behind Robbe De Jongh) and led in saves. In the 2014 European Championship, he allowed one run in 2 1/3 IP in relief for Belgium.

The right-hander pitched sparingly in 2015 (2-2, Sv, 3.32) but was the main catcher for the Squirrels, hitting .324/.403/.368 with 17 RBI in 28 games and fielding .992.