Jonathan Kountis

From BR Bullpen

Jonathan G. Kountis

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Biographical Information[edit]

Jonathan Kountis has pitched in the minors and for the Greek national team.

Kountis was named his team's Most Valuable Pitcher all four years in high school and he set school records for wins and whiffs. He was 9-2 with a 1.48 ERA as a college freshman, allowing a .204 average. He was named All-American Mideast Conference and NAIA All-American. [1] He led the Alaska Summer League in Ks that year and Baseball America named him the #3 prospect in the loop. He fell to 6-3, 3.50 as a sophomore and again was All-Conference and All-NAIA. Despite fading to 5-4, 3.96 in 2009, he was taken by the Cleveland Indians in the 42nd round of the 2009 amateur draft, one round after Max Muncy, but did not sign. [2]

Transferring to Embry-Riddle, he was 7-4 with a 3.27 ERA and struck out 90 in 88 innings. The New York Mets took him in the 19th round of the 2010 amateur draft (between Adam Eaton and JaCoby Jones); Steve Nichols was the scout. He split the summer between the Brooklyn Cyclones (1-1, 5.95 in 9 G) and Kingsport Mets (0-1, 4.35 in 5 G), striking out 39 but walking 24 in 40 1/3 IP. Back with Kingsport, he was roughed up for 10 hits and 10 runs (9 earned) in 5 1/3 IP to get him released by the Mets.

He signed on with the independent Lake Erie Crushers for 2012 and was superb (6-2, 18 Sv, 1.06 ERA, .84 WHIP in 40 G, 68 K in 59 2/3 IP). He was third in the Frontier League in saves, 3 behind Eric Massingham and one behind Amalio Diaz. He won Reliever of the Year honors and was named the All-Star RP. [3] That earned him another look in the affiliated minors. The Toronto Blue Jays signed him but he fared poorly with the Vancouver Canadians (16 H, 8 R, 6 ER in 9 1/3 IP), though he had 3 saves; he was let go and returned to the independent ranks with the Frontier Greys (1-5, 7.08 in 9 G, 27 BB in 34 1/3 IP) and laredo Lemurs (0-1, 9 H, 6 R in 3 2/3 IP) to finish up a rough year.

He rebounded in 2014 with the Washington Wild Things, going 1-4 with 32 saves and a 2.51 ERA. He struck out 50 and walked 10 in 43 innings, allowing no homers. He led the league in saves, 4 ahead of Gabriel Shaw, and set a new league record for saves, breaking Ryan Quigley's mark of 28. He again was the league's All-Star reliever. [4]

Kountis was then dealt to the Kansas City T-Bones for Andy Noga, Hamilton Bennett and a player to be named later. [5] He struggled with Kansas City (0-3, 3 Sv, 7.94 in 3 G) and finished the year back with Washington (3-3, 9 Sv, 2.73). He ended his pro career 12-20 with 65 saves and a 4.13 ERA in 156 games (16 starts). In 233 1/3 IP, he struck out 257 and allowed 217 hits but walked 108.

He then joined the many Greek-Americans on the Greek national team. In the 2016 European Championship, he was 1-1 with a 3.97 ERA. In the opener, he was toasted by Italy for 8 hits (including homers to Mattia Reginato and Alex Liddi), 4 walks and 9 runs (5 earned) in 2 1/3 IP before Andy Orfanakos relieved in what would be a 21-2 loss. He got Greece's lone win in 7 games in those Euros, beating Russia and former minor leaguer Andrey Lobanov with a complete game effort (9 IP, 6 H, 1 UER, 2 BB, 9 K), likely throwing more pitches (134) than he ever had in a game during his pro career. He even was 2 for 7 with a run on offense in the '16 Euros. On the Greek staff, he clearly led in ERA (Max Warren was at 0.00 but in only one inning) - Pete Sikaras was the next qualifier at 11.05 and Theon Bourdaniotis at 8.10 was the best of the non-qualifiers to work more than one inning. [6]

The Akron native was again Greece's star hurler at the 2017 B-Level European Championship, again getting their only win. He threw 151 pitches in another complete game win, this one a 2-1 victory over Israel (8 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 15 K). He led the event in whiffs, four ahead of Christian Bokich. He was the lone bright spot in a last-place finish for Greece. [7]