Former Forest City Owl and Spartanburg Stinger, Spencer Patton, made his major league debut September 4 for the Texas Rangers. Patton came on in relief in the fourth inning and tossed two scoreless innings while striking out one and not allowing a hit.
Patton was drafted out of Southern Illinois in the 24th round by the Kansas City Royals in the 2011 MLB Draft. He was traded earlier this summer to the Texas Rangers shortly after being named a Triple-A All-Star in July. Between both organizations, at the Triple-A level, Patton held a 3.90 ERA with 85 strikeouts and 19 saves in 62 1/3 innings pitched.
All of which led to Patton earning the call when rosters expanded on September 1. Add in the birth of his son and this was quite the week for the young prospect.
“I don’t think it’s set in yet,” Patton said. “It’s pretty surreal.”
After a season in which Texas has already set the major league record for players and pitchers used in a season, the Rangers saw Patton as a guy who could bring some stability to the bullpen.
“He’s a strike thrower, he commands the ball, he’s a competitor,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We’ll have to get him out there to see for ourselves, but those are the things I’ve heard.”
He did exactly that in his debut, coming in after Seattle had already score nine runs in three innings to shut the Mariners down. He made quick work of the six batters he faced throwing 28 out of 43 pitches for a strike and not allowing a base runner over his two innings of work.
His strike throwing ability was on full display during his time in the CPL where he played three years, one with Spartanburg in 2007 and then with Forest City in both 2008 and 2009. Patton was an All-Star on the 2009 Forest City team that saw the Owls finish with a 46-9 record and earn the number one ranking in the PG Crosschecker summer league rankings. He was the ace of the staff that season going 9-0 with a 1.46 ERA and a staggering 110 strikeouts in only 74 innings pitched. His play earned him CPL Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors, sharing it with his teammate Ryan Arrowood.
Patton became the 75th CPL alum to make their major league debut and the 11th already this season. He also marks the fourth former Owl, and third Stinger, to make the jump to the major leagues.
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 18th season in 2014, the CPL features 14 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. Further more, the CPL has had over 1,200 alumni drafted and 75 alums – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut thus far; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at CoastalPlain.com, and be sure to friend us on Facebook (at www.facebook.com/coastalplainleague) and follow us via Twitter (as CPLBaseball).