As we reach the end of another long MLB regular season, a record of 9 Australians appeared in the Major Leagues during 2011 and most of which proved themselves to be more than capable.
Luke Hughes of the Minnesota Twins, played 96 games in his first full season of MLB and produced solid statistics which included a batting average of .223 and an on-base percentage of .289. In addition to this, Hughes hit 7 home runs and scored 30 RBI. Despite being 27-years-old, Hughes has time on his side has set himself up for a solid Major League career.
Trent Oteljen of the LA Dodgers played 61 games in 2011 to take his career tally to 99 after making his debut for Arizona in 2009. Oteljen's season was solid if not spectacular, producing a batting average of .197 with an on-base average of .322. He also scored 6 RBI and hit 2 home runs. 2012 will be a crucial season for the 28-year-old as he looks to establish himself in the Dodgers starting nine.
Grant Balfour of the Oakland Athletics had 62 appearances for the A's during 2011 and finished with a record of 5 wins & 2 losses with 2 saves. His season's ERA of 2.47 was a great result for the New South Welshman and he struck out 59 hitters in the 62.0 innings he pitched. Balfour, who made his debut back in 2001 for Minnesota is now 34-years-old however he has established himself as a reliable pitcher and has a few seasons left.
Liam Hendricks of the Minnesota Twins made his MLB debut in early September against the Chicago White Sox and finished the season playing 4 games. Hendricks struck out 16 hitters from 23.1 innings and finished with an ERA of 6.17. Just 21-years-old, Hendricks will be hoping for a break out season in 2012.
Shane Lindsay of the Chicago White Sox also made his MLB debut in early September, against the Detroit Tigers, and played 4 games for the season. Despite a solid start in his first game, he gave up 7 runs in 1 innings in his second match and struggled to regain confidence after that point. His finishing ERA of 12.00 doesn't reflect his ability and the 26-year-old will be hoping to prove himself worthy of a place in 2012.
Peter Moylan of the Atlanta Braves had a season interrupted by injury however managed to appear in 13 games, taking his career tally to 287 over 6 seasons in the Major Leagues. His season finished with a record of 2 wins & 1 loss, an ERA of 3.24 and 10 strike outs from 8.1 innings pitched. At 33, time isn't on Moylan's side and he'll be hoping for an injury free 2012.
Josh Spence of the San Diego Padres was without a doubt the find of the season after making his debut in June and going on to play 40 games. His record, despite reading 0 wins & 2 losses, was impressive as he struck out 31 hitters from 29.2 innings pitched on his way to an ERA of 2.73. With time on his side at 23, Spence looks like having a promising MLB career ahead of him and will look to consolidate his place on the San Diego roster in 2012.
Brad Thomas of the Detroit Tigers had a disappointing season which saw him play just 12 games, finish with a record of 0 wins & 1 loss and an ERA of 9.00. Being 34 years old and injury prone, 2012 looks like being make or break for Thomas who's career has seen him appear 72 times since his debut way back in 2001 for Minnesota.
Rich Thompson of the LA Angels had a solid 2011 season which saw him appear 44 times and finish with an ERA of 3.00, despite a record of 1 win & 3 losses. Known for his ability to strike hitters out in key moments, Thompson struck out 56 hitters in the 54.0 innings he pitched and consolidated his spot on the Angels roster. At 27, Thompson is entering his prime and will be looking for an even better 2012.
As always, please share your thoughts below and tell me what you think 2012 will bring for the Australians playing MLB.