The Sugar Land Skeeters has announced that former Skeeters relief pitcher Will Startup has signed with the Detroit Tigers organization for the 2013 season.
Startup, 28, made 31 appearances with the Skeeters in 2012, including two starts in September. He went 3-3 on the season with a 3.08 ERA and held a 21.1 scoreless innings streak from May 4 – July 31, spanning 15 appearances. Over seven career minor league seasons, Startup owns a 26-9 record with a 2.72 ERA in 226 games.
“My family and I are extremely excited,” said Startup. “I think every player hopes to get an opportunity back in affiliated ball and Sugar Land definitely supported me and provided me with that opportunity. Playing baseball with Sugar Land last year has allowed me to continue to pursue my career and pursue pitching. So, the club holds a dear place in my heart – from the fans to the community – and I am so thankful for the opportunity I received with them.”
Originally selected by the Atlanta Braves in the fifth round of the June 2005 draft, Startup was a standout member of the University of Georgia’s pitching staff. During his junior season with the Bulldogs in 2005, he went 6-4 with a 3.21 ERA, leading the club’s staff in wins and saves (6) in 25 appearances. In 2004, Startup was named NCAA Athens Regional MVP as a sophomore and served as a go-to reliever for the Bulldogs’ 2004 SEC Co-Championship Team. In seven NCAA postseason games that year, the left-hander went 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA and collected four saves. Startup was also named to the SEC Good Works Team for two consecutive seasons (2004-05) in recognition for his outstanding community service efforts.
“I really feel Sugar Land is a first-class organization,” said Startup. “I still talk to Gary [Gaetti] and many of my teammates on a weekly basis, so I’ve formed some great friendships. I really enjoyed playing baseball, just as I was told to expect coming to independent ball. I picked up some things hopefully that will stick with me for the rest of my playing career and it was just one of my favorite places to play.”
“Will was such a joy to have around in the clubhouse,” said Skeeters Manager Gary Gaetti. “He’s a good guy, a born leader and you can tell he loves this job. He did everything that was asked of him last year and was probably one of the most versatile pitchers we had on the club. You could really count on him. I know he’ll take advantage of this opportunity and he’ll do great at his next stop.”
Opening Day for the Sugar Land Skeeters is scheduled for Thursday, April 18 at Constellation Field. For more information about the Atlantic League, the Sugar Land Skeeters or how to purchase tickets for the upcoming 2013 season, visit the team’s website at www.sugarlandskeeters.com or call the Skeeters ticket office at 281.240.HITS.