ST. PAUL, MN (January 13, 2014) – St. Paul Saints manager George Tsamis can sleep a little easier during the 2014 season. Every fifth day he will hand the ball to one of the best starters in the American Association from the 2013 year as the team re-signed veteran right-handed pitcher Anthony Claggett.
The 29-year-old Claggett was one of the most consistent and dominant pitchers on the Saints staff last season, finishing tied for second in complete games, with three, and third in the American Association in ERA, at 3.11. Claggett led the Saints in victories going 9-6 in 21 starts. In 142.0 innings pitched he walked just 43 while striking out 83 with opponents hitting .265 against him. He etched his name in the Saints record book tying the single-season mark for most games started and second most innings pitched, finishing 7.0 innings shy of teammate Mark Hamburger. Claggett was a workhorse tossing at least 6.0 innings in 20 of 21 starts and 7.0 innings in nine of 21 starts. He also allowed three runs or less in 17 of 21 starts.
“Anthony was one of the top starting pitchers in the league last year,” said Tsamis. “He made quality start after quality start. We are excited to have him back. He is a guy you want at the top of the rotation. He is great in the clubhouse and a guy that the younger guys look up to.”
Claggett began his time with the Saints during the 2012 season when he was signed as a free agent on June 6. He split time out of the bullpen and as a starter, thriving in the starter’s role. He was 5-3 with a 4.48 ERA in 11 starts.
Claggett was an 11th round selection by the Detroit Tigers in 2005 and was traded to the New York Yankees in 2006 which sent Gary Sheffield to the Tigers in exchange for pitchers Humberto Sanchez, Kevin Whelan and Claggett on November 10. That season Claggett was named the MLB.com Class-A Pitcher of the Year going 7-2 with a 0.91 ERA and 14 saves in 51 relief appearances at West Michigan.
In 2009 Claggett reached the pinnacle of the baseball world when he was called up to the Major Leagues and made his debut for the Yankees on April 18, pitching out of relief against the Cleveland Indians. His debut did not go as planned, allowing eight runs on nine hits, and the Yankees optioned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre following the game. Claggett was promoted to the big club again onAugust 5 and made his second appearance on August 6 against the Boston Red Sox. He was once again optioned to Scranton/Wilkes Barre following the game and on September 24 the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed Claggett off of waivers. He would pitch one game for the Pirates. Claggett earned a World Series ring that season when the Yankees won the World Series and gave each player who played for the team that season a ring.
During the last two off-seasons Claggett has pitched in Australia for the Perth Heat.
This is the first off-season signing by the Saints. The 2014 season begins at home, May 15 with a 7:05 p.m. against the defending American Association Champion Gary SouthShore Railcats.