Mobile Pitcher of the Year

When the pitcher with the most wins on the club (eight) also has 13 losses, the pickings appear slim. But this club was laden with talent that was submerged by inadequacies in other areas. Need proof? Read on. . .

The Mobile BayBears were the worst hitting team in the Southern League and by a wide margin. Their .244 average trailed the next competitor by 13 points and they struck out nearly 100 times more than the closest team.

The pitching ranked sixth in the ten-team league with a 4.15 ERA and it ranked fifth in strikeouts.

The headliners included Craig Breslow, Dale Thayer and Mike Thompson.

"I have had a very effective changeup this year," said Breslow – headed to spring training with the Boston Red Sox.

Breslow saw action in 40 games for Mobile, yielding a .212 average against in 52.1 innings. His work with the Double-A squad would eventually land him a promotion to the big league squad.

The left-hander allowed two runs over his first 11 appearances and in 20 outings from June through July he gave up just 14 hits in 87 at bats, a .161 average.

But he is with Boston now and we can't just go ahead and give the award to a player that isn't in the system. It would go against our moral fiber - what little is left.

Thayer got off to a rough start but poured it on as the season progressed. After posting a 3.63 ERA through the first three months of the year, the right-handed closer had a 0.39 ERA over his final 21 games, giving up one run in 23 innings.

Thayer notched 27 saves on the year and struck out 59 in 57.2 frames. While he struggled with the bases empty, the California native posted a .145 average against with runners in scoring position.

"I am focused on getting three outs and am not really worried about whether it is a save opportunity or not," said Thayer.

Thompson lasted with the club through the middle of July before his promotion to Triple-A, posting a 6-6 record with a 3.22 ERA over 18 starts. In 114.2 innings, the right-hander walked just 27 batters, showing pinpoint control.

"The main thing is being consistent," Thompson noted. "When you're consistent, you have a low ERA and you can always contribute to a team. And I will hopefully win."

The Colorado native began the year by allowing two earned runs or less in each of his first nine starts and managed the feat in 13 of 18 overall with the BayBears. Minus the month of June, where he posted a 7.53 ERA, Thompson held a 1.78 ERA over the months of April, May and July.

Despite some struggles, the Mobile pitching staff had a few aces in the hole. None proved more clutch than Thayer. Without their closer, there is a good chance Mobile would have lost a few more games than they did and he provided the staff with a sense of relief if they held a lead going into the ninth.

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