Mike Crotta

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Michael John Crotta

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Mike Crotta saw action in fifteen games with the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates.

Amateur career[edit]

Crotta had a 5-1, 0.51 record in high school, with 86 strikeouts to 3 walks in 54 innings, to earn All-State honors. He was originally drafted in the 47th round of the 2003 amateur draft by the Philadelphia Phillies; he did not sign. As a freshman at college in 2004, he had a 5-4, 5.20 record. His sophomore year was worse at 5-4, 6.02. He still got to play in the elite Cape Cod League, but had the highest ERA of any Bourne Braves hurler with 20-plus innings (1-2, a save, 4.91). His junior year at Florida Atlantic was far from stellar (2-2, 6 saves, 5.82), but he was drafted by Joe Salermo and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 17th round of the 2006 amateur draft.


In 2006, Crotta played for the Williamsport Crosscutters and Hickory Crawdads, going 2-5 with a 4.87 ERA in 15 games (11 starts), walking just 6 in 61 innings. He pitched for Hickory and the Altoona Curve (one emergency start at Altoona only) in 2007, posting a record of 10-6 with a 4.50 ERA. In 2008, he went 9-10 with a 4.67 ERA for the Lynchburg Hillcats. He led the Carolina League with the best control (1.54 BB/9) and tied Corey Hamman for most wins and Tony Watson for most starts (28) by a Pirates farmhand. That fall, he was 1-1 with a 4.76 ERA for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League. Mike went went 7-8 with a 4.76 ERA for the Altoona Curve in 2009. He became the fifth Curve hurler to make 27 starts, following Brian O'Connor, John Grabow, Sean Burnett and Landon Jacobsen; no one had done it for six years before Crotta. The Floridian led Bucco farmhands in starts. He split 2010 between the Curve and Indianapolis Indians, going a combined 7-10 with a 4.42 ERA in 28 starts. He walked just 40 in 156 2/3 innings.


Crotta was a surprise to make the Bucs 2011 Opening Day roster, aided by injuries to lefties Joe Beimel and Scott Olsen. He had impressed management with his control and ability to get ground ball outs during spring training. Manager Clint Hurdle let him debut in a one-run game. Down 4-3 against the Cubs in the third game of the year, he relieved Ross Ohlendorf, retiring Marlon Byrd on a grounder, ex-Buc Aramis Ramirez on a fly ball and Carlos Pena on a strikeout. John Bowker pinch hit for Michael in the 8th; the Bucs rallied to win, 5-4. He had a rough time in his only big league stint, with a 0-1, 9.28 record in 15 games, allowing a .392/.446/.549 batting line.

...And Everything After[edit]

Back on the farm, Crotta pitched for Altoona (a scoreless inning) and Indianapolis (5.91 ERA in 11 games), missing 2012 due to elbow surgery. Signed by the Washington Nationals, he had a solid campaign in AAA with the 2013 Syracuse Chiefs (6-7, 4 saves, 3.57 in 51 games). He tied Ryan Buchter and Kirby Yates for third in the IL in games pitched, trailing Wirfin Obispo and Anthony Carter, and tied Aaron Barrett for most appearances in the Nats chain. Crotta signed with the Nippon Ham Fighters for 2014, a two year, $1 million deal. In his debut, he relieved Masashi Kanehira with a 3-2 deficit against the Orix Buffaloes in the 7th inning. He allowed a hit to Yoshio Itoi but retired the next five batters (Yuniesky Betancourt, Tomotaka Sakaguchi, Wily Mo Pena, Teppei Tsuchiya and Ryoichi Adachi) before Hisashi Takeda relieved him. He went 4-5, 2.62 in 62 games for the first year of the deal then fell hard to a 4-2, 5.21 record in 45 games in 2015. He made a final nine appearances in the Detroit Tigers system in 2016.


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