All-DBAP Team: Relief Pitcher Finalists
Only one position remains to fill out our All-DBAP Team (with managers coming next week), as we conclude the player portion of the squad with relief pitchers. This trio features three relievers who all amassed 35 saves or more in a Durham Bulls uniform.
After taking a glance at our finalists below, remember to vote for who you think is most-deserving of a spot on the All-DBAP Team by voting on the Bulls’ Facebook page. Simply leave a comment on Facebook with the name of your selection on the official finalist announcement post and you’re done!
By the time he made his Durham debut in 2009 he was already in his 16th professional season at the age of 32, but he was one of the best relievers in the IL that season, recording 15 saves in 37 appearances. That year he went 3-1 with a 1.94 ERA, while striking out 77 batters in 51.0 innings. He was flawless in the 2009 postseason, tossing 5.2 scoreless innings over six appearances to earn four saves and help the Bulls to their third Governors’ Cup title and first Triple-A National Championship title in franchise history. The following season he posted a 2.28 ERA, while ranking third on the circuit with 23 saves. He struck out 82 that season while walking just 21 in 55.1 innings, while surrendering just a single home run.
Career Numbers with Durham: 3-5, 2.12 ERA, 38 Saves, 106.1 IP, 159 K in 88 G (2009-2010)
MLB Career: 0-1, 7.31 ERA, 0 Saves, 44.1 IP, 38 K in 38 G (2006-2007, 2009)
Lee Gardner, the franchise’s all-time Triple-A leader in saves with 77, recorded 15 saves or more three times over his five season with Durham. In 2003 he set a Triple-A single-season franchise record with 30 saves, while also leading the league in that category. He saved 55 games between 2002 and 2003, the franchise’s first two Triple-A titles, while his ERA was never higher than 3.75 to finish a season with the Bulls. Over his final 150 games with Durham in 2002, 2003 and 2005, his appeared in 150 games, recording a save in 70 of them.
Career Numbers with Durham: 15-13, 3.06 ERA, 77 Saves, 259.0 IP, 206 K in 227 G (2000-2003, 2005)
MLB Career: 4-5, 3.01 ERA, 2 Saves, 101.2 IP, 68 K in 86 G (2002, 2005, 2007-2008)
Affectionately referred to as the “Pineapple Express” in his tenure in Durham (alluding to his Hawaiian roots), Kirby Yates was perhaps the International League’s most dominant closer from 2013 to June of 2014, when he received his first big league call up. In the Bulls’ 2013 Governors’ Cup title season he ranked 4th in the IL in saves (20), T-3rd in games (51), 4th in lowest batting average against (.175) and 2nd in K/9 (13.57). In that year’s postseason he was as dominant as ever, allowing just one hit over four shutout appearances to record four saves. In 2014 he returned even better, going a perfect 16-for-16 in save chances and posting a 0.36 ERA before his promotion to Tampa Bay. At the time of his promotion, he was holding opponents to a .118 average, while left-handers were just 2-for-40 against. In his career with the Bulls, he posted a 4/1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (128-to-32).
Career Numbers with Durham: 4-2, 1.45 ERA, 36 Saves, 86.2 IP, 128 K in 72 G (2013-2014)
MLB Career: 0-2, 3.75 ERA, 1 Saves 36.0 IP, 42 K in 37 G (2014)
You can cast your vote here.
Next Week: Manager