Hamburger's Complete Game Helps Him Earn Pointstreak Pitcher of the WeekST. PAUL, MN May 30, 2016
Mark Hamburger’s dominating performance in front of the largest crowd to watch a St. Paul Saints home game was enough to earn him the Pointstreak Pitcher of the Week in the American Association.
Hamburger, who threw five complete games his first time around in 2013, was perfect for 4.2 innings before giving up a two-out single to Steve Swingle in the fifth. Brandon Tierney followed with a single to put runners at first and second. Swingle tried to advance to third on a pitch in the dirt, but Aaron Gretz threw him out to end the inning.
In the sixth Hamburger gave up back-to-back singles with one out, but retired the next two hitters on pop outs to end the inning.
Hamburger retired the side in order in six of the nine innings and carried the shutout into the ninth. He got the first two T-Bones in the inning, but gave up back-to-back singles to Jake Blackwood and Anthony Gallas to put runners at the corners. A wild pitch allowed the lone run to score, but on the 121st pitch of the night, Hamburger got Tyler Massey to ground out to first to end the game and earn the complete game. He allowed one run on six hits while striking out six.
His week began with a solid performance on Tuesday against the Sioux Falls Canaries in Sioux Falls. He tossed 7.2 innings allowing three runs on six hits while walking three and striking out six in recording the victory.
On the season Hamburger is 3-0 with a 1.90 ERA in three starts. In 23.2 innings pitched he has walked six and struck out 17 while opponents are hitting .179 against him.
Hamburger is currently first in the league in wins and innings pitched, tied for first in complete games, tied for second in strikeouts and seventh in ERA.
Hamburger re-signed with the Saints this season and originally played for the club in 2013 and his incredible season on the field, plus a new focus off of it, got him signed by the team that took a chance on him out of a 2007 tryout camp, the Minnesota Twins. Hamburger spent the last two seasons in the Twins system, spending all of 2015 at Triple-A Rochester.
He began 2015 as a starter, but after four starts he was moved to the bullpen for his final 41 appearances and was tremendous. As a reliever he went 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA and one save in 41 relief appearances. In 48.0 innings pitched he walked 10 and struck out 43 while opponents hit .246 against him. Overall, he was 4-2 with a 3.31 ERA and one save in 45 games (four starts). He didn’t allow a run in 36 of 41 relief appearances and allowed more than one run out of relief just once (allowing seven runs in 1.1 innings of relief on June 12). He allowed just one run over 20 relief appearances (21.0 IP) from June 16-August 8 and didn’t allow a run in 12 relief appearances (14.0 IP) from July 3-August 8. He closed out the season on an 11.0 inning scoreless streak.
Hamburger was a stalwart at the top of the Saints rotation in his first season pitching solely as a starter in 2013. In 21 starts the hard-throwing right-hander was 6-8 with a 3.28 ERA. Hamburger struck out 120 while walking just 47 and held opposing hitters to a .275 batting average against him.
While finishing the year among the American Association’s leaders in ERA and strikeouts, Hamburger also made sure to leave his mark in the franchise’s record book. He finished 2013 as the single-season leader in strikeouts, innings pitched (149.0), and complete games (5, a record tied in 2015 by Dustin Crenshaw) and is tied with Nick Barnese (2014), Anthony Claggett (2013) and Robert Coe (2012) for most starts made in a season with 21.
Hamburger has an incredible story going from an open tryout with the Minnesota Twins to the Major Leagues in the matter of just four years. After a dominating year in college, going 11-0 with a 0.83 ERA in 2007 at Mesabi Range Community & Technical College, he showed up at the Twins tryout camp and wowed scouts. He was signed to a minor league deal and sent to the Gulf Coast League.
In 2008 Hamburger was a Post-Season Appalachian League All-Star and went 1-2 with a 4.27 ERA and 13 saves with Elizabethton. In August of that season he was traded to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Eddie Guardado. He was sent to Single-A Clinton and between the two stops he went 1-2 with a 3.98 ERA and 16 saves.
In 2010 he was an MiLB Organizational All-Star after an incredible season between Single-A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco where he went 4-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 21 saves in 50 relief appearances. In 65.1 innings pitched he struck out 69 while opponents hit .236 against him.
His big moment came in 2011. After going 1-0 with a 1.83 ERA and four saves in 11 relief appearances at Frisco, Hamburger was promoted to Triple-A Round Rock. He once again made the organization take notice going 7-4 with a 3.88 ERA in 31 games (four starts). On August 30 he was called up to the Major Leagues and made his debut on August 31 in Arlington against the Tampa Bay Rays. He pitched a perfect ninth inning of relief getting two ground outs and a fly out. Despite giving up three runs in 2.0 innings in his next outing at Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox, he did strike out Adrian Gonzalez twice. Overall, Hamburger was 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA in five games. In 8.0 innings he struck out six while Major League hitters batted just .179 against him.
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