Rotation Taking Shape, Saints Re-Sign Former St. Thomas Ace, Lefty Eric VeglahnST. PAUL, MN December 15, 2016
Last season the St. Paul Saints carried five rookies. When those rookies contribute it’s like found money. If a rookie is an integral part of the team, especially in a playoff race, it’s like buying a penny stock and watching it take off. The former St. Thomas ace, left-handed starter Eric Veglahn, took the first steps last season to becoming a blue chip stock. The Saints re-signed him for the 2017 season after finishing 2016 in the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
The 22-year-old Veglahn spent two months with the Saints before having his contract purchased by the Toronto Blue Jays on August 22. He pitched two games for the Bluefield Blue Jays in the Rookie, Appalachian League. He was 1-0 with a 3.97 ERA in two starts. In 11.1 innings pitched he walked four and struck out seven while opponents hit .267 against him.
Veglahn was 3-4 with a 4.39 ERA with one complete game in 10 games (nine starts) for the Saints last season. In 53.1 innings pitched he walked just 18, struck out 32 and opponents hit .246 against him.
In nine starts last season Veglahn allowed three earned runs or less in six of the nine, allowed five or fewer hits in six of nine and went at least 6.0 innings in five of nine. He earned his first professional victory on July 7 at Fargo allowing one run on three hits in 7.2 innings.
The top starter on the Tommies in 2016, Veglahn went 6-2 with a 2.42 ERA with three complete games and a shutout and three saves in 14 games (10 starts) at St. Thomas. In 67.0 innings pitched he walked just seven and struck out 70 while opponents hit a miniscule .227 against him.
During his four year career at St. Thomas Veglahn was an impressive 24-3 with a 2.56 ERA with eight complete games and five saves in 45 games (35 starts). In 221.2 innings pitched he walked just 39 and struck out 231. He was a two-time All-MIAC and two-time All-Region honoree.
The most impressive start of his career came as a sophomore when he was an All-MIAC Honorable Mention. Against defending champion Linfield, in the Division III World Series, Veglahn took a perfect game into the eighth inning after retiring the first 21 batters he faced. He would toss a complete game two-hit shutout while walking one and striking out 12. Earlier in that same season he came one out away from throwing St. Thomas’ first no-hitter in 18 years before giving up a two out triple in the seventh inning in the first game of a doubleheader against Carleton.
A graduate of La Crescent High School, Veglahn was the Winona Daily News Baseball Player of the Year as a senior when he led all Minnesota pitchers in strikeouts with 131. He also holds the Minnesota state record for strikeouts in an inning with five. His career high of 15 strikeouts at La Crescent was second most in school history behind only one person, his Dad Jerry who once struck out 18 in a game for La Crescent.