Miguel Sanfler on Fire

Prior to the 2007 season, Dodger's prospect Miguel Sanfler was considered one of the best arms in the organization, an amazing feat considering the plethora of talented young arms in its minor league system. Once the season began, Sanfler's arm was committing acts of betrayal: walks, hit batters, pitches that sometimes needed Mapquest to find home plate.

With the beginning of the 2008 baseball season, Miguel continued to have control problems coming out of the bullpen for the Great Lakes Loons. Some began to lose faith. However that has completely changed. Miguel Sanfler has become one of the dominant relief pitchers on the Loon's squad.

Early in the season, pitching coach Danny Darwin told me that it was a matter of making some minor mechanical adjustments in Sanfler's delivery. "Of course, you don't want to change too much with him," Darwin said after an early season game in April.

Sanfler's wind up is herky-jerky: arm's flailing as he sets to throw the ball to the plate and sometimes looking as if he might lose his balance in the process. Even when his ERA was, as Our Lady Peace once sang, "somewhere out there," hitters were having a tough time picking up his pitches and trying to connect with his well moving fastball.

However, the walks, hit batters, and wild pitches sprinkled in with the occasional single up the middle allowed his ERA to soar even though it was doubtful that any hitters were able to get the best of him.

Now, Sanfler has been completely vindicated as he has been able to harness his control while racking up the usual number of strikeouts that has been his game his entire career. Entering play on Monday, Miguel had an ERA of 2.80, an impressive feat considering where he was a month and a half ago.

Even though I am guilty of picking on Sanfler in my writings on the Great Lakes Loons, I had said all along that if he got his control under wraps, there would be no reason why Miguel would not be in a Dodger's uniform in the future. But, at times, it seemed as if that possibility had as much chance of success as winning the lottery.

As Sanfler ran to the mound recently at Dow Diamond, it was nice to hear the cheers of the Loon's faithful in support of him. Considering all that he has experienced in the last year and a half, Miguel has the makings of an inspirational success story.

Yet, as we all know, baseball is sometimes a strange game and streaks of accomplishment and failure are part of the business. As such, maybe Miguel Sanfler is riding on the wings of luck in what has been one heck of a turnaround.

But as the umpire rings up another strikeout victim as Sanfler continues to baffle hitters, maybe this is the beginning of a long career in professional baseball for him. I hope it is. Miguel, man, you deserve it.