Cramer Back In The Fold

Back in 2007, one of the best stories in the Oakland A's system was the emergence of left-hander Bobby Cramer, who had been out of affiliated baseball for three seasons before signing with the A's in May and making it all the way to Triple-A by the end of the year. It was expected that Cramer would be a big part of the River Cats' bullpen in 2008, but he wasn't re-signed by Oakland.

Following a 2007 season that saw Bobby Cramer go 9-2 with a 2.77 ERA in 97.1 regular season innings for the High-A Stockton Ports and the Double-A Midland Rockhounds and pitch in the playoffs for the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats, big things were expected of Cramer in 2008. Unfortunately, the lefty developed shoulder soreness at the end of the 2007 season and, perhaps wary about his health, the A's released Cramer before the start of the 2008 season.

Cramer proved that his arm was sound by throwing 92.2 innings for the Orange County Flyers of the Golden Baseball League (independent league). He had a 3.88 ERA for the OC and struck-out 95 while walking only 16. He finished fourth in the league in ERA and fifth in strike-outs.

Cramer's story was well-documented by this site in 2007. A former Tampa Bay Rays farmhand, the Long Beach State alum was out of affiliated baseball and teaching at a local high school when current A's and former Rays scout Craig Weissman contacted Cramer to see if he would be interested in suiting up for the A's High-A affiliate in Stockton. Despite being out of the game for more than three seasons, Cramer didn't miss a beat when he took the mound for the Ports. In nine appearances over 45 innings, Cramer posted a 3.80 ERA and struck-out 41 while walking 10.

That performance earned Cramer a trip to Double-A, the highest level he had attained in his career. Cramer was outstanding as a swingman for the Midland Rockhounds, going 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA in 52.1 innings. He struck-out 50 and walked 10 and allowed only 45 hits for Midland. At the end of the season, Cramer was promoted to Triple-A and he pitched in Game Five of the PCL semi-finals for Sacramento.

After the season concluded, Cramer traveled south to Mexico to compete in winter ball. He posted a 2.08 ERA in 26 innings, but his walk totals were up (12) and his strike-outs were down (17). When we spoke to Cramer after he returned from Mexico, he indicated that he had been battling some shoulder soreness. That soreness may have played into the A's decision to release Cramer at the start of the 2008 season.

Before his release, it was expected that Cramer would be a part of the Sacramento bullpen as a second lefty to team with Brad Kilby. That may be the case again this season, as the A's are light on left-handed relievers in the top levels of their minor league system. Cramer also has a lot of experience as a starter, so he gives the A's some depth in both areas.

For more information on Cramer, please visit his player profile by clicking here.

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