John Ayres Birtwell
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 225 lb.
- School Harvard University
John Birtwell pitched as high as AAA.
As a sophomore at Harvard, Birtwell led the Ivy League with 69 strikeouts while walking only 10 in 64 innings. He was 4-5 with a 2.83 ERA, second in the Ivy League in ERA. He and Chris Young were named the All-Conference pitchers, but Birtwell beat out future big leaguer Young for Pitcher of the Year honors.
In 2000, the junior fell to 2-3 with a save and a 3.31 ERA. His senior year, he was 4-5 with a 2.72 ERA and was named the All-Conference relief pitcher. The Detroit Tigers took him in the 30th round of the 2001 amateur draft.
Debuting in the professional ranks with the 2001 Oneonta Tigers, John was 1-2 with 7 saves, a 3.76 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings. Moving up to the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Nebraska native was excellent at 7-2, 1.59 with a .175 opponent average, 101 whiffs in 79 1/3 innings and just 18 walks. He led Tigers farmhands and the Midwest League in games pitched.
Birtwell split 2003 between the Lakeland Tigers (3-3, 3 Sv, 1.74) and the Erie SeaWolves (1-0, 3.93), striking out 67 in 59 2/3 IP for the year. In 2004, he was again with Lakeland (1-0, Sv, 3.09) and Erie (Sv, 3.52). With the 2005 SeaWolves, he was less effective at 0-2,4.46. In 2006, John moved to the Oakland Athletics system. He pitched that year for the Stockton Ports (0 R in 1 1/3 IP) and the Sacramento River Cats (3.38 in 24 G).
Birtwell's next stop was with the independent Worcester Tornadoes, going 4-3 with 12 saves and a 4.12 ERA in 2007, with 51 strikeouts in 43 2/3 innings. With the same club in 2008, he went 1-2 with 13 saves and a 3.10 ERA, fanning 38 in 29 innings.
Overall, Birtwell was 18-17 with 37 saves and a 2.99 ERA in 261 minor league games, striking out 384 in 348 2/3 innings.
Birtwell next went into coaching as pitching coach of the 2010 Jamestown Jammers.