A’s use 11th different starter of the year: Call up Dillon Overton
Saturday the Oakland Athletics used their 11th starting pitcher of the season. With their rotation decimated by injuries, the A’s have had to be creative to make sure that they had a pitcher to start a game every five days.
In Saturday’s contest against the Los Angeles Angels, the A’s called upon rookie Dillon Overton from Triple-A Nashville to make his major league debut. First drafted out of high school in the 26th round by the Boston Red Sox, the then-18-year-old left-hander decided to attend the University of Oklahoma rather than sign a professional contract.
He was drafted again by the A’s in 2013 in the second round of the draft. This time, after three years of college education and pitching experience, the then-21-year-old decided to sign with Oakland’s organization and after a slight snag, he began his quick ascent through the minor leagues.
The snag was a bit more than slight. In fact, the 6-foot-two lefty missed out on the 2013 season after having Tommy John surgery. He was diagnosed just two days after signing with Oakland. His recovery went as smoothly as his path through the A’s minor league system later did and he was back on the mound within a year.
In 2014, Overton moved through the Athletics’ rookie league in Arizona and up to the Class-A Vermont Lake Monsters of the New York-Pennsylvania League. While he didn’t record a win in 2014, Overton posted a 1.95 ERA over 12 starts, pitching 37.0 innings and striking out an amazing 53 batters.
Overton started the 2015 season with High Class-A Stockton. He went 2-4 in 14 appearances with a 3.82 ERA. He still kept his strikeout count high at 59 in 61.1 innings pitched. Soon he was promoted to Double-A Midland where he finished out the season going 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA in 13 starts for the Rockhounds. His number of strikeouts dropped to 47 in 64.2 innings, most likely due to the hitter-friendly nature of the Rockhounds’ ballpark.
After spring training in 2016, he was sent directly to play for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds of the Pacific Coast League. So far this season Overton is 8-4 in 14 appearances, 13 of which were starts. He’s pitched 83.2 innings for the Sounds in 2016 posting a 3.01 ERA while amassing 79 strikeouts.
After pitching so well in each league and moving so quickly through the Athletics’ minor league system, the A’s called upon Overton, now 24, Saturday to make his MLB debut against the Los Angeles Angels.
For all the information on Overton’s first big league start for Oakland you can continue reading my column on Today’s Knuckleball by following the link below:
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