Shorebird of the Week – August 16, 2012

He wasn’t on our radar screen at the beginning of 2012, a fact not surprising when the sum total of Eric Wooten‘s professional experience was 7 2/3 decent innings in the Gulf Coast League.

But since his July 8 callup, Wooten has performed quite well, picking up a pair of victories in his last three outings and salvaging the one win Delmarva earned in its just-completed Kannapolis roadtrip. His five-inning spot start on Tuesday resulted in just one Kannapolis run as the good guys won 6-1.

Yet the reason the Colorado native and 22-year-old lefty out of Central Arizona Junior College was here in the first place was his utter dominance of overmatched Gulf Coast League batters in June. In 14 GCL innings Wooten allowed seven hits, walked three, and fanned 15 while giving up nary a run. Eric hasn’t been quite that successful here, but is 2-2 with a 3.70 ERA and – more importantly – a 1.03 WHIP based on walking just 4 batters and allowing 21 hits in 24 1/3 innings.

Eric got off to a slow start with the Shorebirds, pitching to a 5.54 ERA in his first six outings. But the last two have righted the ship as he’s allowed just one run and six hits in his last nine innings and hasn’t allowed a walk in August (3 appearances.) He’s come onboard at a time when the Shorebirds’ beleaguered pitching staff needed a boost thanks to injuries and callups.

Obviously the goal for Eric the rest of the way is to secure a spot on a full-season team for 2013. At 22 – he’ll turn 23 during next year’s spring training – this is certainly attainable given his progression over the few professional innings he’s thrown. Most likely he would break camp with the Shorebirds and perhaps would return to a starting role full-time. For a guy who wasn’t picked until the 15th round of the 2011 draft, that would be a solid foundation to build his remaining career on.