Taylor Sinclair didn't have any team besides the Arizona Diamondbacks show interest in him during his senior season at the University of Northern Iowa. Even the D-backs didn't like him enough to use one of their 51 draft selections on him in June of 2008. The lack of interest was somewhat warranted, as Sinclair couldn't manage an ERA under 4.45 in any of his four collegiate seasons and his velocity topped out in the mid-80s.
"[The Diamondbacks] had spoken with me and told me to go play independent ball," Sinclair told FutureBacks.com earlier this season. "They said they'd keep an eye on me, and if I did well, they'd call me up. After four [games], they gave me a call and sent me out to Montana."
Sinclair fanned 23 batters and allowed just 13 hits over those four games, compiling a 1.93 ERA. That foreshadowed the success he would go on to enjoy at Missoula. That August, Sinclair took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He finished the year 5-2 with a 3.07 ERA playing for the Osprey, and was twice named Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week.
He began this season as a swingman for the South Bend Silver Hawks, primarily making spot starts and working in long relief. He pitched his way into the staring rotation, taking a 2.83 ERA and 9.5 K/9 ratio into the month of June using a very deceptive delivery.
Mixing in-and-out and having four pitches that I can throw for the strike... it's definitely a big thing when you only throw in the mid-80s," explained Sinclair.
He hit a bit of a roadblock in June, going 0-2 with a 4.94 ERA and striking out only 20 batters in 27.1 innings. Part of the culprit may have been Midwest League batters growing used to his sidearming motion. On the other hand, he might have just faced a larger concentration of right-handed batters, who have hit .311 against him this year as compared to a .184 mark from left-handers.
"I definitely think I have an advantage against lefties," agreed Sinclair. "Righties definitely see me a little bit better, as probably you could tell from the stats. I just try to work both sides of the plate with them, mix in the changeup, and try to get the ball down in the zone."
On July 4th, Sinclair faced the Lansing Lugnuts, who had previously given him trouble on May 14th by tagging him for three earned runs in 3.2 innings. On Independence Day, Sinclair allowed a run in the bottom of the first, then suffered an undisclosed injury after recording two outs in the second. Jordan Meaker, Bryan Woodall, and T.J. Hose held the Lugnuts in check while the South Bend offense raked out 17 hits in a 7-3 victory. Four of those base-knocks came courtesy of leadoff hitter Reynaldo Navarro, one of the most exciting infield prospects in the organization.
While there is no word yet on the severity of Sinclair's injury, any extended absence would be a crippling blow to the Hawks, who have struggled mightily since the end of May.
Taylor Sinclair warming up between innings -
Taylor Sinclair May interview -
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