Saints Bolster Bullpen With Re-Signing of EscatST. PAUL, MN June 19, 2016
He was scheduled to be a key component in the St. Paul Saints bullpen this year, but just before the season started Gene Escat signed in Mexico. Before Saturday night’s game in Winnipeg the Saints re-signed the right-hander to help strengthen the bullpen and he pitched a shutout inning of relief for the Saints in an 11-5 win over the Goldeyes.
The 26-year old Escat entered camp with the Saints, but signed with Mexico just a few days before the regular season to play for Campeche in Mexico. He was 0-0 in six relief appearances allowing four runs on two hits in 4.0 innings pitched while walking four and striking out four.
Escat spent all, but one game at Double-A Bowie last season in the Orioles organization. Pitching mostly out of the bullpen he was 1-6 with a 3.92 ERA and two saves in 32 appearances (six starts). In 66.2 innings pitched he walked 42 and struck out 56 while opponents hit .261 against him. He made one appearance at Triple-A Norwich on August 17. As a reliever Escat was 1-3 with a 3.32 ERA and pitched out of relief in his first 26 appearances before starting his final six appearances. He didn’t allow an earned run in 16 of 26 relief appearances including a 5.0 inning shutout performance on July 27. His team won the Double-A Championship.
Escat was a 23rd round selection in the First Year Player Draft in 2012 by the Baltimore Orioles out of Fresno State. He was strong in his first season beginning his career at Low-A Aberdeen where he was 0-0 with a 2.35 ERA in seven relief appearances before being promoted to Single-A Delmarva. In 18 appearances he was 3-2 with a 3.96 ERA and two saves. He didn’t allow a run in 13 of 18 appearances.
In 2013 Escat spent the entire season at High-A Frederick in the Carolina League where he was 6-7 with a 5.65 ERA and six saves in 41 relief appearances. In 57.1 innings pitched he walked 25 and struck out 35 while opponents hit .281 against him. He got stronger as the season went along including not giving up a run in seven consecutive appearances from July 12-August 1. He recorded either a win or save (three wins and four saves) in seven consecutive decisions from July 12-August 21.
Escat pitched 31 games in Frederick in 2014 and got his first taste of Double-A pitching four games out of relief, without allowing a run, in a late season call-up. At Frederick he was 2-5 with a 3.49 ERA and one save in 31 appearances (one start). In 56.2 innings pitched he walked 26 and struck out 58 while opponents hit .239 against him. He allowed just one run over 11 relief appearances (23 IP) from April 9-May 21. At Double-A Bowie he didn’t allow a run in 8.1 innings pitched including 3.0 shutout innings in his final appearance on August 30.
Esact was a graduate of Fresno State University where he won a National Championship his freshman year in 2008.
The Saints also placed infielder Tanner Vavra on the disabled list with an injured hamstring and released pitcher Alex Crawford.
The Saints currently have 22 players on the roster, one shy of the league maximum of 23, 11 pitchers and 11 position players.