Getting to CHS Field

Career Franchise Wins and Strikeout Leader Coe Re-Signs, Saints Also Ink Two More Impressive Arms in Little and Creasy

ST. PAUL, MN May 4, 2017

The St. Paul Saints are making sure to load up on quality arms before the first workout of the season on Saturday, May 6.  Manager George Tsamis re-signed right-hander Robert Coe, who set the franchise record for wins and strikeouts last season, right-hander Connor Little, who has averaged more than a strikeout per inning pitched in his career and a former eighth round draft pick out of high school and a 2015 Double-A All-Star, right-hander Jason Creasy.

 

          The 29-year-old Coe had another strong season for the Saints last season going 11-3 with a 4.24 ERA in 21 games (20 starts).  In 119.0 innings pitched he walked 68 and struck out 75 while opponents hit .258 against him.  On August 12 against the Sioux Falls Canaries he broke the franchise record for wins with his 41st, surpassing Charlie Ruud’s (2005-09) record of 40 and topped Ruud’s strikeout mark, with his 319th, on August 27 at Lincoln.

 

          In 2015 Coe had an incredible year as part of the best rotation in Saints history. Four starters recorded at least 12 victories and Coe went 12-3 with a 3.11 ERA in 20 games (18 starts) with three complete games and a shutout.  In 124.1 innings pitched he walked 48 and struck out 78 while opponents hit a miniscule .216 against him.  His opponent’s batting average against was the third best in the American Association behind only Ryan Zimmerman (.190) and Patrick Johnson (.192) of Sioux City.  It is also the second lowest opponent’s batting average in franchise history of any pitcher with at least 66.0 innings pitched.

 

          Coe pitched at least 6.0 innings in 15 of 18 starts and allowed two runs or less in 12 of 18 starts.  His finest performance came at CHS Field on August 5 against the Lincoln Saltdogs.  He hurled 6.1 perfect innings before issuing a one out walk to Aaron Payne in the seventh.  In the eighth he lost his no-hit bid on an infield single to Curt Smith to lead off the inning.  Coe hurled a complete game, one-hit shutout while walking one and striking out five.

 

          Coe is the only pitcher in franchise history to win 12 games in two different seasons doing so in 2015 and in 2012.

 

          Coe’s 2012 season had been one of the greatest in franchise history until the historic 2015 year by Coe, Kramer Sneed, Dustin Crenshaw and Jeff Shields.  He went 12-5 with a 2.91 ERA in 22 games (21 starts) with two complete games and a shutout.  In 139.1 innings he walked 59 while striking out 87 and opponents hit.240 against him.  He finished tied for second in the league in wins and games started and third in ERA.  At the time he set the single-season franchise record for innings pitched, surpassing Charlie Ruud’s (2007) record of 138.2, and games started, which was held by five different pitchers who had 20 starts.  Coe’s season was filled with honors for his impressive work earning Pitcher of the Month for July going 6-0 with a 2.64 ERA and one complete game in eight starts, along with 17.1 scoreless innings, American Association Rookie of the Year and Baseball America named him the eighth best prospect in all of Independent League Baseball. 

 

          Following his 2012 season Coe went through an unusual off-season.  The Diamondbacks purchased his contract on November 26, 2012.  He was released by the Diamondbacks and was re-signed by the Saints on March 25, 2013.  The Diamondbacks purchased his contract for a second time on April 30, 2013 and he spent the 2013 season in the Diamondbacks organization.  He split time between Single-A South Bend and High-A Visalia where Coe went 5-4 with a 4.60 ERA in 23 games (19 starts) including one complete game.  In 121.1 innings pitched he walked 48 and struck out 96 while opponents hit .257 against him.  He earned the Midwest Pitcher of the Week on May 27 after pitching 9.0 shutout innings allowing three hits and striking out eight over two appearances (one start, one relief).

 

          Prior to the 2012 season Coe pitched just 12.1 innings at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and that came in 2011 during his senior year.  He went 1-1 with a 0.73 ERA and two saves.  He was signed by the Saints on June 21, 2011 and went 3-1 with a 4.93 ERA in 18 games (one start).  His finest appearance of the

season came in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs when he allowed one run in 6.0 innings against the Winnipeg Goldeyes.

 

          The 26-year-old Little had a tremendous season last year with the Somerset Patriots in the Atlantic League.  He was 5-0 with a 3.25 ERA in 46 relief appearances.  In 63.2 innings pitched he walked just 17 and struck out 67 while opponents hit .244 against him.  He had a scoreless appearance in 30 outings and started the season not giving up a run in his first four appearances.  He went seven consecutive appearances from July 25-August 14 without giving up a run and then didn’t give up a run during his final five appearances. 

 

          Little began his career in 2013 when he signed with the Rockford Aviators in the Frontier League.  After pitching in just eight games for the Aviators he caught on with the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League at the end of 2014.  He impressed by going 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA in four starts.  Those numbers got him re-signed for 2015 and his first full season in professional baseball.

 

          In 2015 Little was lights out going 7-5 with a 1.19 ERA and two saves in 47 relief appearances.   In 68.0 innings pitched he walked just 14 and struck out an eye-popping 90 while opponents hit a microscopic .172 against him.  He had five different streaks of five appearances or more without allowing an earned run, including not allowing an earned run over his final nine appearances of the season.  He struck out each batter he faced in an outing of 1.0 inning or more four times, including striking out five in 1.2 innings twice.  Following the Frontier League season Little was traded to the Somerset Patriots and helped them win the Atlantic League Championship. 

 

          Following the 2015 season Little was rated the #8 prospect in Independent Baseball according to Baseball America.  His numbers that season, plus the accolades from Baseball America, got his contract purchased by the Atlanta Braves during the off-season.

 

          The 24-year-old Creasy spent last season between three different levels in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.  He began the year at Double-A Altoona and was 3-1 with a 4.85 ERA before landing on the disabled list with a strained forearm.  He missed more than three months before making two rehab appearances at Low-A West Virginia.  Creasy was called back up to Double-A Altoona and threw three relief appearances and then got called up to Triple-A Indianapolis.  In all, Creasy was 4-1 with a 4.95 ERA in 12 games (five starts).

 

          Creasy was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the eighth round of the 2011 First Year Player Draft out of Clayton High School.  After limited action in his first season at the Gulf Coast League, Creasy spent all of 2012 at Low-A State College and went 0-5 with a 5.63 ERA.

 

          The young right-hander found his groove in 2013 at Single-A West Virginia where he went 6-4 with a 2.74 ERA and three saves in 32 games (13 starts).  He was solid as a reliever going 3-0 with a 3.16 ERA, but his ERA was even better as a starter as he went 3-4 with a 2.47 ERA.

 

          Creasy continued to move up the ranks of the organization spending all of 2014 at High-A Bradenton.  He went 8-9 with a 3.93 ERA in 28 games (27 starts).  His control was impeccable as he walked just 22 in 148.2 innings and fanned 100.  He finished first in the Florida State League in walks per nine innings and third in innings pitched.

 

          In 2015 Creasy earned his first All-Star selection impressing at Double-A Altoona.  He went 12-8 with a 4.41 ERA and one save in 27 appearances (25 starts).  He came out of the gate red hot allowing just one earned run in his first three starts and allowed two runs or less in 14 of his 25 starts.  He finished tied for third in the Eastern League in victories.

 

          Creasy was a standout at Clayton High School in North Carolina and was named the League Pitcher of the Year as a senior in 2011.  He signed a letter of intent to play for North Carolina State before being drafted by the Pirates.

 

The Saints have signed 23 players this off-season, 11 position players and 12 pitchers.  American Association teams are allowed to bring in 28 players into camp and must be down to the league maximum of 23 players, including five rookies, before the season starts.

 

          The 2017 season begins on Thursday, May 18 at CHS Field with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats.