Sept. 11, 2008
NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Vanderbilt pitcher Mike Minor was recently named Baseball America’s Summer Player of the Year for his exploits on the USA Baseball National team.
Minor served as the ace of the squad that went 24-0 over the summer and captured the International University Sports Federation (FISU) World Championships in the Czech Republic in July. He went 3-0 with a 0.75 ERA during the tour with 37 strikeouts and 13 walks in a team high 36 innings.
The Chapel Hill, Tenn., native’s two biggest performances came against the Cuban National team in a span of a week in July at the Haarleem Baseball Week tournament in the Netherlands. The Cuban contingent was the same team, minus one player, that captured the 2004 Olympic gold medal and was the runner-up at the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Minor threw 6.1 innings of four-hit shutout baseball in a 1-0 win over the Cubans on July 6 and followed that up in his next start by allowing just an unearned run on four hits over six innings in the gold medal clinching game on July 13.
The feat was all the more impressive as Cuba went on to the Olympics in Beijing and defeated the USA Olympic team, comprised of minor league players, twice en route to the silver medal.
In his final outing of the year, Minor took the hill against Japan in the FISU gold medal game against Japan and threw 9.2 innings of four-hit shutout baseball in a contest that the US eventually won 1-0 in 12 innings.
“Mike’s 12 1/3 innings without allowing an earned run against Cuba will go down as one of the greatest two game performances of any pitcher in USA Baseball history at any level,” said USA National and Olympic Team General Manager Eric Campbell. “It was a pleasure to watch every pitch of his 9.2 innings against Japan in the finals of the FISU championship. That performance and Mike’s entire two-year stint with the national team program, speaks volumes about Mike, DJ (Derek Johnson), Tim Corbin and the entire baseball program at Vanderbilt.”
Minor completed his two-year National team run with an 8-2 record and a 1.17 ERA with 74 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 69 innings of action.
“(Mike) Minor's summer stuck out more than any other player's because of his performance in the biggest games,” said Baseball America’s college national writer Aaron Fitt. “When Team USA needed him most, Minor was at his best. He beat the best competition in the biggest spots, and for that he is our Summer Player of the Year.”
Minor is the second Vanderbilt player to receive this honor, joining David Price who earned the distinction after leading the 2006 National Team to the World University Championships in Cuba.
“Mikie had a great summer with USA Baseball and is certainly deserving of this recognition,” said Vanderbilt head coach Tim Corbin. “Like David before him, we believe that this will propel Mike into a breakout junior season and we expect him to lead our staff this year.”