Monday, April 19, 2010

Seals sign southpaw starter Zach Cline

We continue to profile some of the players recently signed by the Victoria Seals. Today, the focus is on pitcher Zach Cline.

Cline is a 26-year-old left-handed starter who was a 15th-round selection of the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2004 draft. His professional career got off to a strong start as he posted sub-3.00 ERAs in both the New York-Penn League (A-) and South Atlantic League (A) in 2004. At the time, he threw in the low 90’s and was considered a bona fide prospect. But an injury forced him to miss the entire 2005 season and he was not as impressive upon his return. After posting an ERA over 5.00 in 2006, he was quickly released by the Phillies at the age of 22. The Phillies may have been a bit premature in giving up on Cline, as his walk and strikeout numbers were still reasonable and the high ERA in 2006 (in only 86 innings) could have been chalked up to a run of bad luck.

Not ready to give up the dream, Cline has spent the last three seasons playing independent ball and he’s had some success. He compiled a 10-6 record and a 3.09 ERA for the Slippery Rock Sliders in the Frontier League in 2007. Cline went on to post a 3.97 ERA for the Pensacola Pelicans of the American Association in 2008 and a 4.36 ERA last season for the Lincoln Saltdogs in the same league. With some help from pitching coach Kip Gross, it looks like Cline just might become a solid member of the Seals pitching rotation. Given how he has battled back from a serious injury, that’s something that I’d love to see play out at Royal Athletic Park in 2010.

Seal Blubber Bits
  • Ex-Seal Austin Bibens-Dirkx was rocked in he second start of the year for the Tennessee Smokies. He lasted only one inning and gave up three runs on three hits and a walk. The debacle left his ERA at 7.50, but the season is still young.
  • The independent United League Baseball, which has six teams in Texas, has been in financial difficulties for the last year and some question whether the league will survive the 2010 season. If it folds, expect to see a bunch of players looking for a job in the GBL. The domain address for the league's official web site was not renewed, so stay tuned.  The United League's regular season is slated to kick off on May 27th.