By Totals 4 U
Hello, Sports Fans! Welcome to a special weekend edition of your Young Guns series where we take a look at promising young pitchers making their leap to the Major Leagues. Today we check in on Dillon Overton, making his first start for the Oakland Athletics tonight at Angels Stadium…
Following his junior year at the University of Oklahoma, Overton was selected in the second round of the 2013 Major League Draft by the Athletics, a steal in their minds despite some whispers of injury. The whispers got it right this time and – after an adjustment to his signing bonus – it was off to Tommy John surgery and more than a year of rehab. Not exactly the way a youngster dreams of starting his pro career!
The 6’2″ 175 pound lefty proved tough-minded, though, and got his chance at the lower minors in 2014 with some changes in approach. From his 93-MPH college fastball, Dillon was now working in the low to mid-80s. Time to re-learn how to pitch and again he rose to the occasion, reaching high-A Stockton and AA-Midland in 2015. Combined he posted a 3.43 ERA with 106 strikeouts vs 127 hits and 27 walks over 126 innings…and the arm was getting a little stronger.
Come 2016, Overton’s finesse game of breakers and off-speed stuff has been reinforced with a fastball now reaching the high 80’s and he was tapped by the club for a promotion to AAA-Nashville. Overall, his numbers with the Sounds have been good with a 3.01 ERA over 83 2/3 innings but the last 6 weeks he has been simply dominating.
Over his last 7 starts Dillon has swept the table at 7-0 with a 1.40 ERA without allowing a single homer. The cutter the 24-year-old has added this season is paying off and he’s currently riding a 25 1/3 inning streak without allowing a run. Combine that with the starting pitcher injury issues in Oakland and he gets the call to join Manaea, Neal, Mengden, and Triggs as the 5th arm this season to make his starting debut for the Athletics!
But don’t get too excited. Dillon Overton is a very sharp reader of batters, something that may not translate in his first trip to The Bigs. This is likely to be a short trip up because both higher-rated Sean Manaea and Rich Hill are progressing in their rehab with the Stockton Ports but it’s going to fun tonight (10:05 EST start) to see if the kid can maintain his control (231 K vs 53 BB in the minors) against top bats.
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– TD at Totals 4 You