Many pundits love to espouse about how meaningless the almighty WIN is in a pitcher’s stat line, noting that is nothing but a mere anomaly, that any scrub reliever or starter can snatch one at any given time. It has at times been declared a worthless statistic all-together.
Say what you will about the win, but somebody has to get them and for those who don’t it can take a great toll on their confidence and snowball into an avalanche of losses…something no pitcher wants and a stat that no pundit can deny.
Case-in-point, one Mike McCardell, a sixth round selection out of Kutztown State for the Minnesota Twins in the 2007 first-year player draft. He was named a Baseball America Rookie All-Star after his first season in pro ball and in 2009 he had a combined 14-8 record with a 3.98 ERA between Class-A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain.
Last season started out harmless enough for McCardell. He got his first start of the season against New Hampshire’s Zach Stewart on a 69 degree day in New Britain, Connecticut. McCardell went 4 innings, allowed 2 earned runs, scattered 4 hits and 4 walks and picked up a loss in the process. The date was April 10th, 2010.
Then it continued for McCardell; 2 losses in April, 3 in May, 4 in June and 3 more in July. We had our eyes firmly planted on McCardell’s plight all season long. We tried putting him consistently in our Game of the Day when he was starting and when that didn’t help we tried our best to ignore him. Nothing seemed to work until a perfect summer day in Bowie, Maryland, when McCardell scattered 3 hits and allowed only 1 run against the BaySox for the win. That date was July 31st and Mike McCardell had a 1-12 record.
So because of McCardell’s fortitude, and moreso because of his fruitlessness, we have decided to create an annual award in his honor; to shine a light on a struggling pitcher who is missing out on that elusive win, in hopes that it could go a long way in changing their direction, confidence and attitude when they hit the hill…and hopefully allow them to put a “W” in their start column.
Our inaugural Mike McCardell Award goes to Portland Sea Dog’s pitcher Stolmy Pimentel, who after 15 starts is now saddled with an 0-9 record to go along with a 9.12 ERA. Stolmy, like McCardell, had much promise heading into this season, but has struggled since starting the season in Double-A. In fact, things have gotten so bad for Stolmy that he was just shipped down to Class-A Salem as I wrote this piece. This is a pitcher who last year was featured in the MLB Futures Game and was the 6th ranked Boston Red Sox prospect heading into the season by Baseball America. Hopefully he won’t lose his way and can turn things around in Salem. As part of winning “The McCardell,” he will be featured in the Game of the Day each and every time he pitches until he grabs a win, whenever he makes it back up to Portland.
As for McCardell himself, it seems as if his playing days may be behind him. I searched far and wide (ok, maybe I spent an hour on Google, but whatever) to try and find his whereabouts, but had no luck. He may just be sitting on the injured list, he could be in Indy ball somewhere or maybe he’s winning elsewhere in life, far away from the game. All I can tell you is that this once promising prospect will forever be recognized here at Beyond Fenway for his adversity and courage in the face of defeat throughout his 2010 campaign.
So here’s to you Stolmy Pimentel, the inaugural winner of the Mike McCardell Award…and here’s to you Mike McCardell, wherever you may be! In the end, it’s not how many you win, but how many you lose before your win one.
Now try telling Mike McCardell and Stolmy Pimentel that a win is meaningless.