Left-Handed Reliever Comes Full Circle As Saints Re-Sign Carolina League Saves Leader Cody WheelerST. PAUL, MN March 29, 2016
LEFT-HANDED RELIEVER COMES FULL CIRCLE AS SAINTS RE-SIGN CAROLINA LEAGUE SAVES LEADER CODY WHEELER
ST. PAUL, MN (March 29, 2016) – On April 3 of last season the St. Paul Saints signed a promising left-handed reliever, Cody Wheeler. Four days later the Baltimore Orioles purchased his contract from the Saints and Wheeler went on to have an All-Star season and led the Carolina League in saves. When opportunity struck a second time the Saints jumped again and added the solid left-hander to their bullpen.
The 26-year-old Wheeler was tremendous last season at High-A Frederick going 5-1, with a league leading 17 saves, and a 2.79 ERA. In 51.2 innings pitched Wheeler walked 28, struck out 56 and opponents hit a miniscule .194 against him. He recorded a win or save in his first 16 decisions and didn’t give up a hit in 19 of 42 appearances. Along with topping the league in saves he finished tied for first in games finished (35) and third in games (42). He was selected as a Carolina League Post-Season All-Star.
"Cody had a real good year last season,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis. “We expect him to be a big part of our bullpen"
Wheeler was a fifth round selection in the First Year Player Draft in 2010 by the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Coastal Carolina (SC) University. His first season was cut short with a rib injury after only three relief appearances and a torn UCL forced Tommy John surgery that made him miss all of 2011. After missing all of 2011 recovering and rehabbing he began an impressive road back.
In 2012 with Low-A Yakima Wheeler was 3-0 with a 1.87 ERA in 14 games (11 starts). He pitched 43.1 innings and struck out 41 while opponents hit .226 against him.
After spending most of 2013 at High-A Visalia he was dominant in 2014. He began the season in Visalia and went 3-4 with two saves and a 2.35 ERA in 25 relief appearances. After striking out an eye-popping 53 in 38.1 innings pitched, Wheeler was promoted to Double-A Mobile where his numbers were even better. In 20 relief appearances he was 2-0 with a 0.40 ERA, giving up just two runs (one earned) across 22.1 innings pitched while opponents hit an infinitesimal .087 against him. He didn’t give up a run in his first 11 relief appearances spanning 11.2 innings pitched. He also went eight straight relief appearances without giving up a hit from July 24-August 14.
The Saints have signed 10 players this off-season, seven position players and three pitchers.
The 2016 season begins on Thursday, May 19 at CHS Field with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats.