Affeldt with the San Francisco Giants
San Francisco Giants – No. 41
June 6, 1979 |
|April 6, 2002 for the Kansas City Royals|
(through 2014 season)
|Earned run average||3.89|
Career highlights and awards
Jeremy David Affeldt (//; born June 6, 1979) is an American baseball professional relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball. He throws and bats left-handed. He has also played for the Kansas City Royals, Colorado Rockies, and Cincinnati Reds.
Affeldt was a third-round draft pick by the Kansas City Royals in 1997. He made the team in 2002, and he started part of the year for them. In five seasons with the Royals, Affeldt bounced back and forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen. In 2006, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies at the trade deadline, and he was a member of the Rockies team that went to the 2007 World Series. After one season with the Cincinnati Reds, he signed with the San Francisco Giants in 2009, where he was a member of the 2010, 2012, and 2014 World Series championship teams.
Affeldt was born in Phoenix, Arizona, to David and Charlotte Affeldt. His father was a member of the United States Air Force, and Affeldt lived in Guam, Merced, California, and Spokane, Washington, growing up. While he lived in Merced, Affeldt and his father would frequently attend Oakland Athletics games, and Affeldt enjoyed watching Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco, and Dave Stewart. Affeldt attended Northwest Christian High School, a Division 2-B school in Colbert, Washington. Affeldt participated in three sports while there, but it was baseball that drove several major league scouts to the school to see him pitch. He graduated in 1997.
Draft and minor league career
Affeldt was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the third round of the 1997 MLB Draft. He spent 1997 pitching for the rookie–league Gulf Coast League Royals. While with them, he went 2–0 with a 4.50 ERA in ten games (nine starts).
Affeldt improved with the GCL Royals the next year, going 4–3 with a 2.89 ERA in twelve games (nine starts). His performance even earned him a promotion to the single-A Lansing Lugnuts. Affeldt did not do well in his time with them, though, as he went 0–3 with a 9.53 ERA in six games (three starts).
In 1999, Affeldt spent the entire season with the Royals' single-A affiliate, which had changed to the Charleston Alley Cats during the offseason. Although he only went 7–7, he had a 3.83 ERA in twenty–seven games (twenty–four starts).
Affeldt pitched with the Wilmington Blue Rocks of the single-A advanced Carolina League in 2000. While with Wilmington, he led the entire Kansas City Royals' organization (and the Carolina League) with fifteen losses (to go with only five wins). He also threw seventeen wild pitches. However, his ERA was 4.09, and the Blue Rocks were only a half–game ahead of the worst team in the league (the Potomac Cannons).
2001 was a better season for Affeldt, as he went 10–6 with a 3.90 ERA in twenty–five starts for the double-A Wichita Wranglers. He was selected to pitch in the Texas League All-Star Game, and he was named to the postseason All–Star team.
Kansas City Royals
Affeldt was not expected to make the Kansas City Royals' roster in 2002, but he was added to the bullpen after he had an 0.64 ERA and fourteen strikeouts (to go with just two walks) in fourteen innings in Spring Training. His major league debut came on April 6 against the Chicago White Sox. He pitched two innings, giving up three hits and a run in a 14–0 loss. On April 24, Affeldt picked up his first major league win by pitching 3.2 innings of relief in an 8–2 win over the Detroit Tigers.
Affeldt's time in the bullpen did not last long, however. On May 3, he replaced Bryan Rekar in the Royals' starting rotation. In his first start, he pitched four innings, gave up one run, and earned a no–decision in a 4–3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. Affeldt's time as a starter did not go well, though, as he was 0–4 with a 5.45 ERA in seven starts. In his last start, on June 8, Affeldt picked up the loss as the Royals fell 11–3 to the St. Louis Cardinals. After getting pulled in the fourth inning due to an injury, Affeldt was placed on the disabled list with fingernail and blister problems.
After making three rehab starts for Wichita, Affeldt returned to the Royals on August 2 and threw a perfect inning against the Minnesota Twins. He remained in the bullpen for the remainder of the 2002 season. After the season, he pitched in a winter league in the Dominican Republic.
In 2003, Affeldt found himself competing with Runelvys Hernández for the first spot in the Royals' starting rotation during Spring Training. Because Tony Peña, the Royals' manager, was unable to decide which one would be the ace, he flipped a coin to determine who would be number one. Hernández won the toss.
Affeldt was placed on the disabled list after only four games with blister problems again. His time on the DL did not last long, though, as he returned to the Royals on May 6. On May 28, he struck out a career high eight hitters in a win against the Minnesota Twins. Later, on June 6, he notched his first hit.
Affeldt's final start of the year came on July 23, in a game he won against Minnesota. After the start, the Royals moved him to the bullpen to try to fix his blister problems. The move was originally thought to be temporary. While in the bullpen, on August 3, he got his first save in a 2–0 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
On August 21, the Royals announced that Affeldt would spend the rest of the year in the bullpen. Two days later, he got another save against Minnesota. He picked up two more saves before the end of the year and finished with a 7–6 record and a 3.93 ERA. After the season, to try to help with his blister problems, he had part of a fingernail on the middle finger of his left hand removed. Also, the Royals announced that if he developed blister problems again, he would be sent to the bullpen for good.
In 2004, Affeldt was named the Royals' third starter out of Spring Training. He was only 0–3 with a 5.24 ERA in eight starts, however. His final start of 2004 came on May 18 against the Texas Rangers. Affeldt gave up five runs in four innings and received a no–decision in a 7–6 victory by the Royals. Afterwards, although his blister problems had not resurfaced, manager Tony Peña named him the Royals closer on May 21 due to poor pitching and injury problems with the other Royals closers.
Affeldt blew his first save opportunity of 2004 against the Oakland Athletics on May 22, but he converted in his next outing on May 25 against the Detroit Tigers. He converted eight of ten save opportunities before he was placed on the disabled list on June 27 with a partially torn rib–cage muscle. He was out for almost eight weeks.
After making four appearances for triple-A Omaha, Affeldt returned to the Royals on August 21. He made his first appearance since returning from the DL on August 22, but he did not get another save until September 1 in a 1–0 victory over the Tigers. He picked up four more saves to finish the year with a career–high 13 saves and a 4.95 ERA.
In 2005, Affeldt was again expected to be the Royals' closer. However, he did not get a save opportunity until April 16 against Detroit, and he was unable to finish that game because of a groin injury that landed him on the disabled list again. After rehabbing in Omaha, Affeldt returned to the Royals on June 4. He was no longer the closer, however, because Mike MacDougal had been closing well in his absence. Affeldt was not healthy for long, as he returned to the disabled list on June 20 after reaggravating the groin injury.
Affeldt returned to the Royals on July 7. Through July 27, he had a 2.18 ERA. He did not give up more than one earned run until August 5, when he got his first loss of the year against the Oakland Athletics. However, Affeldt had a 12.71 ERA in his next eighteen appearances, which raised his ERA to 6.93. He held opposing batters scoreless for the final nine games of the season to bring it down to a season–ending 5.26.
Affeldt returned to Kansas City's starting rotation in 2006 when he was named the fourth starter during Spring Training. However, he was moved up to the third spot before the season began when Runelvys Hernández was demoted to the fifth spot. Affeldt struggled as a starter with the Royals, however, as he went 2–5 with a 7.80 ERA in nine starts. His final major league start came on May 27 against the New York Yankees. He gave up ten runs on eleven hits in a 15–4 loss. After the start, he was sent to the bullpen, and Bobby Keppel filled his place in the starting rotation. Affeldt improved in the bullpen, though, as he had a 2.91 ERA in it through July 31.
Years later, reflecting on his tenure with the Royals, Affeldt said, "I was pretty frustrated. I wanted to quit. I didn't want to go to the ballpark. I was just failing a lot. I was getting hurt. I didn't understand my role. I bounced around and I just didn't enjoy the game." At the trade deadline on July 31, Affeldt was traded along with Denny Bautista to the Colorado Rockies for Ryan Shealy and Scott Dohmann. Affeldt recalled, "When [Royals General Manager Dayton Moore] traded me, he said, 'I feel like I need to give you a fresh start. You can learn to enjoy the game again.' I have a lot of respect for him now because he saw that. It was a move that had to be made for me to be able to continue playing baseball. I'm very thankful for it."
With the Rockies, Affeldt was used exclusively out of the bullpen. He got his only save of the season on September 19 in a 12–4 win over the San Francisco Giants. Affeldt finished the 2006 season with a 6.20 ERA in fifty–nine games.
Affeldt spent the entire 2007 season in the bullpen. He was used as a lefty specialist during the year. Affeldt had a 2.15 ERA through his first fifty–six games of the year. He did not give up a home run until Pete Laforest hit one off of him in an 11–9 loss to the San Diego Padres on August 16. He struggled at the end of the year, however, as he had a 7.30 ERA in his final nineteen games. He still finished the year 4–3, with a 3.51 ERA in seventy-five games, and the Rockies made the playoffs.
Affeldt made the playoffs for the first time as the Rockies won the Wild Card. He made his postseason debut on October 4 in the Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Affeldt gave up one run (on a home run by Ryan Howard) in one inning in a 10–5 win by Colorado. The Rockies swept the series to advance to the Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the first game, Affeldt entered with two outs and the bases loaded with the Rockies leading 5–1. He retired Stephen Drew to help the Rockies win 5–1. The Rockies swept the Diamondbacks to meet the Boston Red Sox in the World Series. Affeldt pitched in all four games of the World Series without giving up a run, but the Rockies were swept by the Red Sox. Affeldt became a free agent after the season.
Affeldt was signed to a one–year deal by the Cincinnati Reds on January 23, 2008, to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. He said of signing and competing to start, "My heart skipped a beat when they offered that deal. I went with my heart there." However, he was placed in the bullpen, where he stayed for the entire year. He won his first game as a Red when the Reds beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 6–5 on April 2. He made the three hundredth appearance of his career on May 2 in a 2–0 loss to the Atlanta Braves. His only other decision of the year came on September 3 when he was the losing pitcher in a 6–5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Affeldt finished the 2008 season with a 3.33 ERA in seventy–four games. He was also one of only five NL relievers to pitch seventy-five innings and average one strikeout per inning, along with Joel Hanrahan, Aaron Heilman, Hong-Chih Kuo, and Carlos Mármol. Following the season, Affeldt again became a free agent.
San Francisco Giants
On November 17, 2008, Affeldt signed a two–year deal with the San Francisco Giants. He said of signing with them, "With that starting rotation, the bullpen won't get burned out." Affeldt immediately began having a career year with the Giants. He was used on Opening Day against the Milwaukee Brewers, and he pitched a scoreless inning in the Giants' 10–6 win. On April 12, he entered a game against the Padres with one out and the bases loaded in the sixth inning. Affeldt got Brian Giles to ground into a double play to end the inning, but he gave up two runs (one earned) in the seventh as the Padres won 6–1.
From May 8 through July 24, Affeldt had a twenty–eight inning scoreless streak. During the streak, on May 15, he struck out a season–high four batters in an 8–6 loss to the Mets. On May 31, he entered a game against St. Louis with runners on first and third and Albert Pujols on deck in the eighth, and he struck out Joe Thurston to end the inning and help the Giants win 5–3. The streak did not end until July 28, when Brandon Medders allowed one of Affeldt's runners to score in a game against Pittsburgh. On August 2, with runners on first and second with one out in the eighth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies, he retired Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to help the Giants win 7–3. He won the final game of the season against San Diego by pitching two scoreless innings as the Giants won 4–3 in ten innings. Affeldt finished the season with a career best 1.73 ERA in seventy–four games. He was named tenth on one writer's ballot for MVP voting, placing him in a tie for twenty–eighth on the list. On December 17, he won the This Year in Baseball Setup Man of the Year Award.
In 2010, Affeldt again spent the entire season in the bullpen for the Giants. On March 28, the Giants extended his contract through the 2011 season with an option for 2012. Affeldt picked up his first save with the Giants in a 6–3 victory over the Atlanta Braves on April 11. He struggled for most of the season, though, and he was placed on the disabled list on July 24 with an oblique strain. After rehabbing in the minors, Affeldt returned to the Giants on August 18. He finished the season with four saves and a 4.14 ERA in fifty–three games.
Despite his struggles, Affeldt was named to the Giants' playoff roster. Affeldt made his first playoff appearance for the Giants in Game 2 of the 2010 NLCS against Philadelphia. He struck out one batter and intentionally walked another one, but Santiago Casilla allowed him to score as the Giants lost 6–1. Affeldt faced (and retired) one batter in Game 5, but the Phillies won that game 4–2. In Game 6, however, Affeldt entered the game in the third inning with runners on first and second and nobody out after starting pitcher Jonathan Sánchez was taken out early. He pitched two hitless, scoreless innings, and the Giants won the game 3–2 to advance to the World Series. Affeldt pitched in two games in the World Series, and the Giants won it in five games to give Affeldt his first World Series ring.
Affeldt returned to the Giants in 2011 and posted a solid season, going 3–2 with a 2.63 ERA in 67 appearances, including 3 saves. In addition, he posted a career best WHIP of 1.151. Left-handed batters hit only .144 off of Affeldt in 2011. However, on September 8, 2011, Affeldt suffered a season-ending injury as he gashed his non-throwing (right) hand trying to separate frozen hamburger patties and underwent surgery to address nerve damage. After the season, the Giants picked up Affeldt's $5 million contract option for the 2012 season.
On May 1, 2012, Affeldt suffered another off-the-field injury, spraining the MCL in his right knee while picking up his four-year-old son. The injury was listed as number two on an ESPN list of strangest injuries, and was named Jayson Stark's "Strangest But Truest Injury of the Year". Affeldt finished the regular season 1–2 with a 2.70 ERA in 67 appearances in 63⅓ innings.
In the 2012 postseason, Affeldt appeared in 10 games, pitching 10⅓ innings, allowing 5 hits and 3 walks against 10 strikeouts and no runs. In Game 4 of the 2012 World Series, Affeldt provided key relief, striking out Detroit Tigers power hitters Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Delmon Young in the eighth inning to preserve a 3–3 tie. The Giants would go on to win the game in the tenth inning, completing a sweep of the Tigers, earning Affeldt his second World Series ring. On November 13, 2012, Affeldt signed a three-year, $18 million contract to remain with the Giants through the 2015 season.
Affeldt struggled with injury in 2013, recording a 3.74 ERA in 33⅔ innings pitched. He went on the 15-day disabled list after suffering a right oblique strain on April 14. Given Affeldt's history of unusual injuries, Giants broadcaster Jon Miller joked that Affeldt suffered the injury during a sneezing fit. Affeldt clarified that he suffered the injury while pitching the night before in Chicago. He also missed 50 games between July 21 and September 12 with a left groin strain. After returning for one game in September, Affeldt was shut down for the rest of the season.
In Game 5 of the 2014 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, Affeldt entered the game in the top of the ninth with two outs and the bases loaded, retiring Oscar Taveras on a comebacker to preserve a 3–3 tie. Affeldt was credited with the win when Travis Ishikawa hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the pennant for the Giants.
Affeldt earned the win in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series against his first Major League team the Kansas City Royals. Affeldt was brought in from the bullpen in the 2nd inning and pitched 2⅓ innings of scoreless baseball before giving way to series MVP Madison Bumgarner, who finished the game. In the 2014 postseason, Affeldt pitched in 11 games, allowing just 5 hits and no runs over 11⅔ innings. Through three postseasons with the Giants, Affeldt recorded 22 consecutive scoreless outings, a streak bettered only by Mariano Rivera (23).
On getting the Game 7 win at Kauffman Stadium where he started his career, Affeldt said, "To be able to do it in Kansas City, with my past history, it just means a lot to me. It means my end was better than my beginning."
Affeldt has three different kinds of pitches: a sinking fastball which is rare for a lefty, a curveball, and a split. His fastball travels in the low nineties, and while his curveball is not fast, it has late breaking action and gets a lot of swing-throughs. Affeldt induces groundballs at a high rate with his sinking fastball and can also get the strikeout when the situation calls for it.
Affeldt is a devout Christian and a strong advocate for ending child poverty. He writes a weekly blog about his Christian faith and his desire to stir a movement in the cause of helping the suffering and marginalized. In October 2010, during a visit to a Bay Area elementary school alongside former Giants pitcher Juan Marichal, Affeldt told the students, "I try to make sure everybody, all the young people in the world, also have a chance to dream really big." In 2009, Affeldt donated five thousand dollars to the Not For Sale campaign for opening a medical clinic in Thailand for former child slaves. He also became a prominent member of Not For Sale's Free2Play campaign, pledging a $100 donation for every strikeout and recruiting other professional athletes, including his teammate Matt Cain and the St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Holliday.
In 2009, Affeldt was recognized for his anti–slavery efforts by a nomination for the Jefferson Award for Public Service, and in 2010, he was the San Francisco Giants' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award. Affeldt has also founded an organization known as Generation Alive that works to let people know of the world's social justice issues. In 2013, Affeldt released a book entitled To Stir a Movement: Life, Justice, and Major League Baseball.
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