Spring Training Spotlight - #34 Mike Sillman

The former University of Nebraska closer allowed just seven earned runs in 57.1 innings (1.10 ERA) spanning a FSL-high 57 appearances. His dominance over opposing batters is continuing in spring training for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 21st round (630th overall) of the June 2004 free-agent draft, Mike Sillman has a professional career won-loss record of 13-6 with a 1.98 ERA and 60 saves, over his first three seasons.

Last season the submarine style pitcher topped the Florida State League pitchers in appearances (57), games finished (54), opponent's batting average against (1.67) and average strikeouts per nine innings (13.5).

Looking back over his young career, Sillman averaged 12.7 strikeouts per nine innings in 2004, good enough to rank him third-best among the Cardinals minor leaguers while splitting playing time between rookie level Johnson City and short-season New Jersey.

The following season Sillman was primarily the closer for the low Class A Quad Cities. There he posted a record of 8-2 with 22 saves and a 2.74 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in 65.2 innings over fifty-six games. He continued to hold opposing hitters below the Mendoza line, to a .171 average.

This spring Sillman has looked very sharp in the pitching practice sessions being conducted at the Cardinals training complex and that has carried over to his first two Grapefruit League appearances with St. Louis.

In two games, two innings pitched, he has allowed no runs and has given up only one hit.

In Saturday's game against the Florida Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium, Sillman made very short work of the Marlins. Staked to a 8-1 lead coming in to close out the game, Sillman began by striking out Florida's infielder #25 Jason Stokes to start the inning. Next in his sights, former St. Louis Cardinal prospect, outfielder John Gall who grounded out to second before Sillman got his third batter, outfielder Alejandro De Aza to ground to short to end the inning.

When spring training started the consensus was that Sillman would likely start the 2007 with the Double-A Springfield Cardinals, now there is some thought that Sillman could bypass Double-A all together and start with Triple-A Memphis to begin the season.

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