Antonio Noguera Rodriguez
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 194 lb.
Antonio Noguera signed with the Houston Astros at age 16. He made his pro debut with the 2005 VSL Astros, he was 2-2 with a 2.25 ERA for the same club in 2006. In '07, he went 2-5 with a 4.15 ERA for the Greeneville Astros.
For the 2008 Tri-City ValleyCats, Noguera was just 2-8 with a 7.59 ERA. He led the New York-Penn League with 56 runs allowed and 45 earned runs allowed. He split the next year between Tri-City (2-0, 3.62) and the Lexington Legends (7 R, 4 ER in 8 2/3 IP). He was on Spain's roster for the 2009 Baseball World Cup, but was their second-worst hurler in the event, after Jose Cruz. He was 0-2 with 12 hits and 12 runs in just 4 1/3 innings. He was knocked out in the third inning of a start versus Puerto Rico and in the second inning against the Dutch national team.
Noguera signed with Spain's Marlins Puerto Cruz for 2010. He did well in a relief role (2-1, Sv, 1.85, .182 opponent average in 11 G). He got his revenge against the Netherlands, beating host DOOR Neptunus in his only appearance in the 2010 European Cup (1 UER in 5 IP). He gave up 3 runs (one earned) in 4 2/3 innings for Spain in the 2010 European Championship, in which Spain had their worst finish ever (tied for 9th).
For 2011, Antonio signed with Italy's Novara club. He debuted on Opening Day, relieving Jean Toledo with a 5-0 lead over Montepaschi Grosseto. He promptly allowed two runs in the 7th before tossing shutout ball in the 8th and 9th. He walked four in his three innings but allowed only one hit. He was 1-7 with a save and a 6.86 ERA for a 3-39 team. He tied Riccardo De Santis, José Escalona and Dushan Ruzic for 4th in the Italian Baseball League in losses. In the 2011 European Championship Qualifiers, he started the finale for Spain, with a spot in the 2012 European Championship at stake. He allowed two runs in five and was relieved by Remigio Leal, getting outdueled by Switzerland's Lukas Croton. Spain did rally to win.
In 2012, he was 0-12 with a 6.11 ERA for Novara as they again finished a distant last (4-38). He led the league in losses that year. In the 2012 European Championship, he turned in a solid start to beat Sweden (1 R in 5 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K before Sammy De Los Santos took over). In the game to determine third place, he relieved Eric González in the 6th with two on, one out and a 5-4 lead and got Kevin Kotowski to hit into a double play. In the 7th, after Spain added two more runs, he allowed a walk to Sascha Brockmeyer and a homer to Jendrick Speer before Leal relieved with two outs. Spain won the Bronze, a big rebound from their poor 2010 showing. In the 2012 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, they kept on rolling, taking their pool. He pitched in the finale, relieving Leslie Nacar with a 4-3 lead, the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the third. He hit Ben Guez with his first pitch to tie the game, then recovered to fan future MLB player Joc Pederson. He walked both Nate Freiman and Cody Decker to force in two more runs and make it 6-4 but again got a noted big league performer, former major league star Shawn Green, on an infield fly. Eduardo Morlan took over and Spain would rally for a 9-7 win and a spot in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. In the Classic itself, he struggled, allowing a hit and two walks to the three batters he faced, the only Spanish hurler not to retire a batter. He was charged with one run.
He pitched in the Italian minors in 2013, starring for Bollate at 4-3, 1.42 with 157 K in 76 innings. He was even better for Bollate in 2014 with a 10-1, 0.59 record, 189 whiffs and only 26 hits (.086 average) and 13 walks in 91 innings. He led the Serie A in ERA (.06 ahead of countrymate Omar Bencomo), was third in wins and was second in strikeouts (17 behind former major leaguer Marino Salas). In the 2014 European Championship, he beat Greece, fanning 13 in 6 innings and allowing 3 runs (2 earned) but got a no-decision in a Spanish loss to Italy (4 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 K). His 16 strikeouts tied Mike Bolsenbroek for 4th in the event, behind Pete Sikaras, Jan-Niclas Stöcklin and Jake Esch. In the winter of 2015-2016, he made his Venezuelan Winter League debut, going 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA for the Tiburones de La Guaira. He spread 10 innings over 22 games; he was by no means the only LOOGY in the Venezuelan Winter League who also pitched for the Spanish national team as Richard Salazar and Ricardo Hernandez did the same.
In the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, he was the lone Spanish hurler not to retire a batter. He only faced one batter, though. He relieved Richard Castillo in the top of the 4th against Colombia was the bases loaded, two outs and a 4-0 deficit. He walked Carlos Vidal to force in a run then Carlos Sierra relieved him. He had another excellent summer in the Italian minors (9-1, 0.80 for Brescia, 160 K, 62 H, 17 BB in 101 IP). He was 4th in ERA, 3rd in strikeouts and tied Jesús Yépez for 3rd in wins. He was masterful in the 2016 European Championship, a far from his last outing with Spain. He tossed 5 2/3 shutout innings (4 H, 1 BB) in the first two rounds, including 4 2/3 in a crucial win over Italy. In the Gold Medal game, he relieved Leslie Nacar wit ha 2-0 deficit against the defending champion Netherlands and threw 5 shutout innings, allowing only two hits and a walk while fanning seven. Andrés Pérez took over in the 8th with a 2-2 game, but Spain lost in extra innings. He had a 4.97 ERA in 22 games 912 2/3 IP) for La Guaira in 2016-2017.