ST. PAUL, MN (January 16, 2014) – Unlike the state of New Jersey, the St. Paul Saints won’t have a bridge scandal in the 2014 season. That’s because they re-signed reliever Mikey Mehlich, the man that bridged the gap to the closer in 2013. One of the most consistent relievers on the Saints will once again be used in late inning situations in 2014.
The 26-year-old right-handed Mehlich was 4-3 with a 2.92 ERA and one save in 34 appearances. In 49.1 innings pitched he walked 28 and struck out 40 while opponents hit a microscopic .208 against him. Despite having his season shut down about a week early because of shoulder irritation, Mehlich was extremely reliable often being asked to pitch multiple innings late in games. Of his 40 appearances he recorded more than three outs 19 times. He was also difficult to hit not allowing a hit in 14 of his 40 relief stints.
“Mikey did an excellent job for us,” said Saints manager George Tsamis. “We have a lot of confidence in him. “We turned to him in key spots and he got the job done. He is a very good teammate and winning is important to him.”
Mehlich was claimed off of waivers by the Saints in August of 2012 after pitching for the Kansas City T-Bones in the American Association. He was placed on the inactive list because he decided to go back to school, but had a solid season with the T-Bones. He was 1-2 with a 3.27 ERA and nine saves in 23 games. In 22.0 innings pitched he walked 16 and struck out 21 while opponents hit .250 against him. Mehlich began the 2012 season in the Atlantic League with the Camden Riversharks where he went 1-0 with a 7.16 ERA in 13 games. In 16.1 innings pitched he walked nine and struck out 14 while opponents hit .279 against him.
Mehlich was a quarterback at Bishop Moore High School in Florida, but his fastball, which was clocked between 88-94 miles per hour, earned him an 11th round draft pick by the Atlanta Braves in 2006. He spent four seasons in the Braves organization as a reliever and reached High-A Myrtle Beach in 2009. In 2006, at the Gulf Coast level, and in 2008, with Rome in the South Atlantic League, his K/9 IP were an eye-popping 10.1 and he has averaged 8.2 strikeouts per 9.0 innings in his career. After being released by the Braves organization in 2009, he began the 2010 season with the Newark Bears of the Can-Am League and then signed with the Florence Freedom of the Frontier League. He pitched all of 2011 with the Bears and set a career high with 13 saves.