480. Wes Obermueller
Wes Obermueller was a 6’2", 195 lb. right-handed pitcher from Cedar Rapids, IA. Born on December 22nd, 1976, he was initially drafted in the second round of the 1999 amateur draft by the Kansas City Royals. He made his first professional appearance after his selection with the GCL Royals in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and posted a 2-1 record with a 2.58 ERA over 11 games, seven of them starts. He struck out 39 batters in 38.1 innings, with a 1.17 WHIP.
In 2000, Obermueller joined the Charleston Alleycats, a single-A level outfit in the Southern Atlantic League. Although most of that campaign was spent rehabbing an injury, he managed a 3-0 record and a 1.14 ERA over seven starts and one relief appearance. He struck out 29 in 31.2 innings, and finished with a sparkling 0.765 WHIP. The Royals sent him to the high-A Wilmington Blue Rocks in 2001, where he posted an 0-2 record over 20 appearances, including six starts. He had a 3.08 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 38 innings, along with a more sustainable 1.42 WHIP.
2002 would see Obermueller begin his season with the Blue Rocks, going 5-0 over four starts and four appearances in relief, with a 2.76 ERA, a 1.14 WHIP, and 44 strikeouts in 45.2 innings. Later that season, he started 17 contests for the Wichita Wranglers, a double-A team in the Texas League, going 9-5 with a 2.90 ERA, a 1.31 WHIP, and 65 K’s over 105.2 innings. He also made two major league starts late in September, losing both games and finishing with an 11.74 ERA.
In 2003, Obermueller went 10-5 with the triple-A Omaha Royals in the Pacific Coast League, with a 4.40 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP. On July 10th, the Royals traded him with Alejandro Machado to the Milwaukee Brewers for Curt Leskanic. After making three starts for the Indianapolis Indians in the triple-A International League, Obermuller joined the Brewers rotation for the last two months of the season. His best showing was on July 30th, when he took a loss but only allowed three hits in six innings, striking out five in a 2-0 setback to the New York Mets. He ended up 2-5 with a 5.07 ERA, a 1.614 WHIP, and just 34 strikeouts in 65.2 innings.
Obermueller was in and out of Milwaukee’s rotation throughout 2004, starting in 20 of his 25 appearances and going 6-8 with a 5.80 ERA. He struck out 59 in 118 innings and posted a 1.525 WHIP. In his second start of the season, on April 14th, he limited the Giants to three hits and a walk over 6.2 innings, striking out three in a 3-0 win over San Francisco. On August 13th, against the Marlins, he pitched seven shutout innings and allowed just two hits and two walks in a 6-4 win. His best start of the season was his last, on September 25th, when he went the whole nine and shut out the Houston Astros on six hits and a walk for an 8-0 triumph.
Obermueller went 1-4 for the Brewers in 2005, with a 5.26 ERA and struck out 33 in 65 innings. He had a 1.692 WHIP and started in eight of his 23 appearances. He had the best start of his career on May 17th, when he pitched eight innings and allowed only two hits, striking out four and earning his only win of the season, against the Washington Nationals, 8-2. His performance gradually dipped after that, until July when he was optioned to the triple-A Pacific Coast League Nashville Sounds, where he went 3-1, 2.55 over eight starts.
Prior to the 2006 campaign, Obermueller signed a free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves. After going 0-2 with a 2.45 ERA through the first part of April for the International League Richmond Braves, he was released in order to pursue playing time in the Japan Pacific League, with the Orix Blue Wave. He went 1-6 in Japan, with a 5.31 ERA over 10 starts.
2007 would see Obermueller return to North American baseball, where the Marlins signed him to a two-way deal. He started and ended the season with the Albuquerque Dukes in the PCL, going 4-1 over 11 starts with a 4.55 ERA. For the Marlins, he went 2-3 with a 6.56 ERA, starting seven of his 18 games and striking out 36 in 59 innings. Measuring by WPA, his best performance of the season was on April 22nd, when he started and went six innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out five in a 12-6 win against the Nationals. He was released after the season, and hasn’t again appeared in North American baseball at any level.
All-Time Statline: 18 games, seven starts, 2-3, 6.56 ERA, 59.0 IP, 36 BB, 35 SO, 1.831 WHIP, -1.0 WAR
479. Garrett Jones
Jones is a 6’5", 235 lb. first baseman from Harvey, IL. Born on June 21st, 1981, he was initially selected in the 14th round of the 1999 amateur draft by the Atlanta Braves. Jones was a slow starter, and spent three seasons at the rookie-level, first with the GCL Braves in the Gulf Coast League, then with the Danville Braves in the Appalachian League. Over 126 games, he hit .236/296/.330/.626 with six home runs and 57 RBI. The Braves had seen enough, and released him outright on May 21st, 2002.
Just three days later, the Minnesota Twins signed Jones to a free agent contract and sent him to the single-A level Quad Cities River Bandits, where he turned in a .202/.238/.372/.610 statline over 63 games, but improved his power stroke to a tune of 10 round-trippers and 32 RBI. 2003 would see Jones join the high-A Fort Myers Miracle in the Florida State League, and hit. 220/.280/.408/.688 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI over 117 contests.
In 2004, Jones started the season with the Miracles (19 games, .242/.286/.364/.650), but was promoted to the double-A New Britain Rock Cats in the Eastern League. He played in 122 games at that level, and seemed to finally have figured out professional pitching, hitting .311/.356/.593/.949 with 30 home runs and 92 RBI.
Over the next four seasons, Jones spent 519 games with the triple-A level Rochester Red Wings, hitting around .260 with 81 home runs and 326 RBI. In 2007, he finally made an appearance at the major league level, playing in 31 games for the Twins. He hit .208/.262/.338/.600 with two home runs and five RBI. On September 27th, he singled in the fourth and hit a solo home run in the sixth as the Twins defeated the Boston Red Sox, 5-4.
Jones signed a free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 2008 season, and quickly became a fixture for the Bucs at first base (and sometimes right field). He played with Pittsburgh for five seasons, collecting 100 home runs and 325 RBI, along with 27 stolen bases and a .256/.318/.462/.780 statline over 677 games. After the 2013 campaign, Jones signed a free agent contract to play ball for Miami.
Jones led Miami with 33 doubles in 2014, hitting .246/.309/.411/.720 with 15 home runs and 53 RBI. He walked 46 times with 116 strikeouts in 496 at bats. He batted fourth, sixth, and seventh in the order, but mostly fifth, playing mostly first base. On May 20th, he went four-for-five with two doubles and two RBI in a Marlins loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, 6-5. Three days later, he hit two solo home runs in a 9-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. After the season, the Marlins sent him, Domingo German, and Nathan Eovaldi to the New York Yankees for David Phelps, Martin Prado, and cash.
Jones played 2015 with the Yankees, appearing in 57 games and hitting .215/.257/.361/.618 with five home runs and 17 RBI before getting released on August 20th.
All-Time Statline: 146 games, 122-for-496, 59 runs, 33 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs, 53 RBI, zero stolen bases, 46 walks, 116 strikeouts, .246/.309/.411/.720, -1.0 win shares.
478. Hayden Penn
Hayden Penn was a 6’3", 200 lb. right-handed pitcher from La Jolla, CA. He was born on October 13th, 1984, and was selected in the fifth round of the 2002 amateur draft by the Baltimore Orioles. He made his professional debut with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles in 2003, earning a no-decision and striking out four in 3.1 innings. He spent more of his rookie season in the Appalachian League with the Bluefield Orioles, going 1-4 with a 4.30 ERA over 11 starts, with 38 strikeouts in 52.1 innings.
In 2004, Penn split his season at three levels for the Orioles, between the Delmarva Shorebirds (Southern Atlantic League, single-A, 13 games, six starts, 4-1, 3.32, 43.1 IP, 41 SO, 1.13 WHIP), the Frederick Keys (Carolina League, high-A, 13 starts, 6-5, 3.80, 73.1 IP, 61 SO, 1.08 WHIP), and the Bowie Baysox (Eastern League, double-A, four starts, 3-0, 4.87, 20.1 IP, 20 SO, 1.52 WHIP). He also spent most of the following season with Bowie, going 7-6 over 20 appearances with a 3.83 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 110.1 innings. He got into eight games for Baltimore that season, making his major league debut on May 28th and going 4.2 innings for a no decision in a 5-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers. He allowed three runs (one earned) and struck out four. His best game was on June 7th, when he allowed two earned runs over 5.1 innings in a 6-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
2006 would see Penn suffer from appendicitis, and miss several months while recuperating. He managed to play with the triple-A Ottawa Lynx in the International League for 14 starts, going 7-4, 2.24 with 85 strikeouts in 87.2 innings. In six starts for the Orioles, he went 0-4 with a 15.10 ERA over 19.2 innings, with a 2.593 WHIP.
In 2007, Penn started 10 games for Baltimore at three levels of play, but not at the major league level. He posted a combined 2-2 record with 42 strikeouts in 40 innings. He played the entire 2008 campaign with the Norfolk Tides in the IL, going 6-7, 4.79 over 21 starts.
Just before the start of the 2009 season, the Orioles traded Penn to the Marlins for Robert Andino. Penn opened the season on Florida’s major league roster, and appeared in 16 of the Marlins’ first 54 games. His only win on the season came on April 15th, when he pitched 1.1 innings of perfect relief, striking out one in a 10-4 win over the Atlanta Braves. He was sent to the New Orleans Zephyrs in early June, and went 2-4 with a 4.11 ERA over 14 games, striking out 62 in 70 innings.
Penn got through spring training with Florida in 2010, but when he got optioned back to triple-A was instead picked off waivers by the Pirates. He played in three games for the Bucs, going 2.1 innings and allowing eight earned runs for a 30.86 ERA and a 4.714 WHIP. He didn’t again appear at the major league level, last playing with the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Atlantic League in 2013.
All-Time Statline: 16 games, one start, 1-0, 7.77 ERA, 22.0 IP, 20 BB, 27 SO, 2.273 WHIP, -1.0 WAR
477. Joe Orsulak
Joe Orsulak was a 6’1", 185 lb. left-handed outfielder from Glen Ridge, NJ. Born on May 31st, 1962, he was drafted in the sixth round of the 1980 amateur draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played with the single-A level Greenwood Pirates in the Southern Atlantic League in 1981, playing in 118 games and hitting .315/.352/.428/.780 with 80 runs, 18 doubles, eight triples, six homers, and 70 RBI.
In 1982, Orsulak joined the high-A Alexandria Dukes in the Carolina League, walking 47 times versus 46 strikeouts in a team-leading 129 contests. He hit .289/.358/.436/.794 with a team-best 92 runs, 18 doubles, 14 home runs, 65 RBI and a team-best 28 stolen bases. He skipped the double-A level, jumping all the way to triple-A in 1983, with the Pacific Coast League’s Hawaii Islanders. Orsulak led the team with 38 stolen bases and 154 hits spread over 139 games. He scored 87 times, with 12 doubles, 13 triples, 10 home runs, 58 RBI, a .286/.347/.413/.760 statline, and 48 walks with only 41 strikeouts. That season would also see him play in seven games for the Pirates in September. On September 5th, in the top half of a doubleheader, he pinch-hit and stayed in the game defensively in centerfield, going two-for-two from the plate in a 7-4 loss to the Cardinals. They were the only major league hits for him that season, but he did collect an RBI on a sacrifice fly the following night in a 5-0 win, also against St. Louis.
In 1984, Orsulak spent most of the season back with Hawaii, playing in 98 games and hitting .284/.334/.418/.752 with 19 doubles, 12 triples, three homers, 14 stolen bases and 53 RBI. He also spent parts of three months of the season with the Pirates, getting into 32 games overall. From September 12th through the 30th, he hit safely in 11 consecutive games, going 14-for-35 with eight runs and three RBI. On September 20th, in the bottom half of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs, he hit a no-out pinch-single with a man on first, eventually scoring the go ahead run in a 7-6 victory.
Orsulak spent the next two seasons in the bigs with Pittsburgh, playing in 259 more games and hitting at a .274/.321/.353/.674 clip, with 48 stolen bases and 114 runs scored. He joined the triple-A Vancouver Canadians for the entirety of the 1987 campaign, and hit just .231/.319/.308/.627 in 39 games. After the season closed, the Pirates traded him to the Baltimore Orioles for Terry Crowley and Rico Rossy.
For the five seasons starting in 1988, Orsulak became a fixture in right field for the Orioles, also occasionally playing in center and left. In 632 games, he hit .281/.337/.394/.731 with 258 runs, 97 doubles, 15 triples, 35 home runs, 221 RBI, 31 stolen bases, and 166 walks, with 192 strikeouts in 2276 plate appearances. Granted free agency after the completion of the 1992 season, Orsulak signed a free agent contract to play for the New York Mets.
Orsulak spent three seasons with the Mets beginning in 1993, spending ample time at each of the three outfield positions as well as some time at first base. He scored 139 runs over 338 games, with 37 doubles, 17 home runs, and 114 RBI, hitting .276/.319/.377/.696. Orsulak signed with the Marlins after the end of the 1995 season for two years and $1,275,000.
Orsulak batted first, second, fourth, fifth, sixth, or seventh in the order, starting 24 games for the Marlins and appearing in 120 overall, mostly as a pinch-hitter, sometimes as defensive relief. On May 14th, Orsulak hit a one-out two-run pinch-hit single in the bottom of the eighth to break open a tie game with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Marlins eventually won, 11-5. On July 15th, he hit two singles and walked, driving in two runs in a 15-5 victory against the Houston Astros.
Near the end of 1997 spring training, the Marlins traded Orsulak with Dustin Hermanson to the Montreal Expos for Cliff Floyd. Orsulak played in 106 games for the Expos, hitting .227/.310/.340/.650.
All-Time Statline: 120 games, 48-for-217, 23 runs, six doubles, one triple, two home runs, 19 RBI, one stolen base, 16 walks, 38 strikeouts, .221/.274/.286/.559, -1.0 win shares.
476. Rick van den Hurk
Rick van den Hurk was a 6’5", 215 lb. right-handed pitcher from Eindhoven, Netherlands. Born on May 22nd, 1985, he signed as a free agent with the Marlins in 2002. The following year, he made his professional debut with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Marlins, going 2-6 with a 5.35 ERA, starting in 10 of his 11 appearances and striking out 30 in 38.2 innings.
2004 would see van den Hurk spend the season with the high-A Jupiter Hammerheads in the Florida State League. He started 14 games and struck out 43 in 58 innings, going 2-3 with a 3.26 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP. Racked by injuries, the 14 games he appeared in that season was the most he could muster through his first four professional seasons. In 2005, he managed to pitch in six games between the Hammerheads and the Greensboro Hornets in the single-A Southern Atlantic League.
2006 would be more of the same for van den Hurk. He started eight games between the rookie Marlins and the Hammerheads, but at no point did he pitch deep enough to earn a decision. Still, in limited action, he struck out 41 in 25 innings with a 1.80 ERA and a .920 WHIP. Most of that was walks, as he gave up nine hits all season.
In 2007, van den Hurk pitched nine games with the Carolina Mudcats in the double-A Southern League, going 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA, a 1.17 WHIP, and 61 strikeouts in 53.2 innings. He made two starts (and earned two wins) for the Albequerque Dukes in the triple-A Pacific Coast League. For the Marlins, he was in and out of the rotation throughout the season. On June 5th, he pitched six innings and earned his first major league win, allowing a single hit and two walks while striking out four in a 5-1 win against the Atlanta Braves. On July 17th, he allowed no runs on five hits over five innings, striking out six Cardinals in a 4-0 victory over St. Louis. He went 4-6 for the Marlins, taking 17 turns in the rotation and making a single relief appearance. He posted a 6.83 ERA, a 1.739 WHIP, and struck out 82 batters in 81.2 innings.
2008 would see van den Hurk start the season as Florida’s number two starter, but after allowing seven earned runs and a WHIP just under three in 5.1 innings over his first two starts, he was shuttled down to the Dukes, where he went 2-1 with a 4.08 ERA. He also made 10 starts with Carolina, going 3-3 with a 4.23 ERA. He struck out 76 batters in a combined 73 innings. He made a start for Florida on July 22nd, going five innings and striking out seven, allowing no hits and five walks, earning the 4-0 win over the Braves. Five days later, he struck out six Cubs in 3.2 innings, but allowed five earned runs on eight hits and two walks. It would be his last appearance of the season.
Van den Hurk started the 2009 campaign with the Zephyrs, putting up a 5-2 record and a 2.87 ERA over 11 starts. He joined the Marlins in mid-July, and made 11 starts down the stretch. On July 20th, he allowed two runs on five hits, striking out four over six innings to put the Fish on top of the San Diego Padres, 3-2. Two starts later on the 30th, he struck out nine in six innings, allowing two runs on four hits in a 6-3 loss to the Braves. In a 4-3 victory against the Cincinnati Reds on September 18th, he gave up one run on four hits in six innings. He posted a 3-2 record, a career best 4.30 ERA and a 1.330 WHIP, striking out 49 batters in 58.2 innings.
The first half of the 2010 season would see van den Hurk make 19 starts with the Zephyrs, going 8-4 with a 4.68 ERA. He made two relief appearances for the Marlins in June, giving up four runs in 1.1 innings. On July 31st, Florida traded him to the Baltimore Orioles for Will Ohman.
Van den Hurk spent more time over his season and a half with the Orioles on the Norfolk Tides, posting a 10-14 record over 29 starts, with a 6.04 ERA. He appeared in 11 games for Baltimore, starting three and striking out 24 over 25 innings, with a 1.579 WHIP. The Orioles released him just before 2012 spring training. The Toronto Blue Jays signed him days later, but before the end of spring training was picked up by the Cleveland Indians. Two weeks later, he signed on with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Most of 2012 would see van den Hurk with the Indianapolis Indians, Pittsburgh’s triple-A farm club in the International League, going 13-5 with a 2.92 ERA, 113 strikeouts in 123.1 innings, and a 1.19 WHIP. For the Pirates, he played in four games, going 0-1 and allowing four earned runs in 2.2 innings. After taking two years away from baseball, he currently plays for the Fukuoka Softbank. Hawks, where he is one of four former major league players on the team. He is 3-0 over five starts, with 43 strikeouts in 32 innings and a 0.938 WHIP.
All-Time Statline: 35 games, 32 starts, 8-9, 5.96 ERA, 155.2 IP, 80 BB, 152 SO, 1.632 WHIP, -1.0 WAR