Jesus Silva (minors02)
Jesús Rafael Silva Espinoza
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 199 lb.
Jesús Silva peaked at AAA.
Silva was initially signed by Arizona Diamondbacks scout Carlos Porte. He made his pro debut with the 2000 DSL Diamondbacks, going 4-5 with a save and walking only 12 in 58 1/3 IP. In 2001, he went 3-0 with 14 saves and a 2.35 ERA for the Missoula Osprey, walking 8 and striking out 43 in 38 1/3 IP. He led the Pioneer League in saves; despite playing in a short-season league, he nearly led Diamondbacks farmhands in saves, tying P.J. Bevis for second, two behind Greg Belson. Nathan Cotton beat him out as the Pioneer League's All-Star reliever. He was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in 17 games that winter for the Leones del Caracas, his Venezuelan League debut.
In 2002, Silva pitched for the Lancaster JetHawks (2-3, 12 Sv, 2.08 in 34 G, 51 K, 5 BB in 43 1/3 IP) and El Paso Diablos (1-3, 3 Sv, 5.01 in 21 G). At age 19, he had made it to AA. He tied Brandon Medders for third in the Arizona system in saves. He fell to 1-2, 4.50 for Caracas in 2002-2003. Back in the US, he faded (5-4, 3 Sv, 5.02 in 55 games for El Paso). He was 7th in the Texas League in games pitched. In the Diamondbacks chain, he tied Enrique Gonzalez, Lee Marshall and Matty Wilkinson for 5th in appearances. He moved to Pastora de los Llanos (in a trade with Maicer Izturis for Marco Scútaro and Alexander Lissir) that winter but struggled (1-2, 7.87).
The Maracay native became a starter with Lancaster for 2004; he was 11-7 with a 4.38 ERA. He tied Marc Sauer and Juan Sandoval for 8th in the California League in wins and was 8th in strikeouts (126, between Bo Hall and Daniel Davidson). He tied Matt Chico for 5th in the Dbacks chain in wins and was second to Chico in Ks. With Pastora in 2004-2005, Silva went 3-5 with a 3.97 ERA. He tied for second in Venezuela in losses, one behind Felipe Lira.
He was mostly back in relief for Lancaster (5-2, Sv, 6.91 in 29 G), Tennessee Smokies (1-0, 6.35 in 2 G) and Tucson Sidewinders (4 R in 2 2/3 IP). He allowed 78 hits in 50 IP and a 7.20 ERA overall in a rough year. He saw limited action that winter for Los Llanos (1-0, 2.05 in 4 G) and in 2006 for Lancaster (2-1, 4.41 in 11 G). He was back in the Los Llanos rotation in 2006-2007 and had a 3-4, 3.91 record. The Florida Marlins signed him for 2007 and he bounced around their system that summer, appearing for the Jupiter Hammerheads (6-5, Sv, 4.18 in 17 G), Carolina Mudcats (1-4, 7.88 in 7 G) and Albuquerque Isotopes (0-1, 5.68 in 3 G). He tied Chris Seddon for fourth in the Marlins chain in defeats.
Moving to the Bravos de Margarita for the winter of 2007-2008, he was very sharp (7-5, 2.92). He was one of Venezuela's top pitchers, finishing second in wins (one behind Alex Herrera), tying Stephen Randolph for second in whiffs (50, 2 behind Herrera) and placing 4th in ERA (behind Giovanni Carrara, Ariel Prieto and Horacio Estrada). He joined the Tigres de Aragua in the postseason and won the title-clinching game over Geremi Gonzalez but did not pitch in the 2008 Caribbean Series. He pitched poorly for the Oakland A's affiliates Midland (Sv, 5.40 in 6 G) and Sacramento RiverCats (0-1, 7.04 in 6 G), allowing 27 hits in 16 IP. That ended his US career.
In 2008-2009, Silva fell to 1-7, 5.86 for Margarita, with 31 walks and 68 hits in 55 1/3 IP, a far cry from the prior winter. This time, he tied Mike Romano for the most losses, tied Herrera and Heath Totten for 4th in hits allowed and was third in walks behind Randolph and Victor Zambrano. After being fourth in ERA in 2007-2008, he had the third-worst ERA of qualifiers in 2008-2009 (Romano and Carrara were worse). In 2009-2010, he was 2-4 with a 6.02 ERA for the Bravos. The next campaign, he had a 3-3, 2.89 record for Margarita. He was 9th in the Venezuelan League in ERA (between Seth Etherton and Dwayne Pollok).
Silva signed with Cariparma Parma in the Italian Baseball League for 2011. He lost on Opening Day in a duel with Jesus Matos of Unipol Bologna. He went 1-2 with a 1.47 ERA before his season was cut short by injury. He never pitched again.
Overall, he had gone 23-32 with a 4.03 ERA in 138 Venezuelan League games (75 starts). In 462 1/3 IP, he allowed 475 hits and 160 walks while striking out 278. He was 3-9 with a 4.29 ERA in 22 postseason contests. In 263 minor league games (67 starts), he was 41-36 with 36 saves and a 4.46 ERA; he allowed 685 hits and 195 walks in 598 2/3 IP while striking out 491.