Salas with the Mets in 2016
|New York Mets – No. 59|
May 30, 1985 |
Huatabampo, Sonora, Mexico
|May 28, 2010, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
(through 2016 season)
|Earned run average||3.64|
|Career highlights and awards|
Noel Fernando Salas (born May 30, 1985) is a Mexican professional baseball pitcher for the New York Mets of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously played for the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Fernando Salas was born and raised in Huatabampo, Mexico. Growing up he never thought about playing in the American Major Leagues, instead being an avid fan of Mexican League baseball. Said Salas: "There is a lot of money to stay in Mexican League. A lot of players in Mexican League have a chance, (at American baseball) but they want a lot of money." Although he watched little if any American baseball—the only game he can remember watching is the 1993 World Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies—he had a dream of proving he was good enough to play in the major leagues.
Salas first pitched professionally at age 20 when he was signed by the Saltillo Saraperos of the Mexican League. There his pitching coach was Sid Monge a veteran of ten years in American Major League baseball as a player and a coach in the St. Louis Cardinals minor league system. According to Salas, Monge was the reason he is now playing in the major leagues: "He pushed me. He said 'You can go to America'. He believed in me." Representatives from other major league teams took interest in Salas as well, with scouts from the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers and the Cardinals watching Salas pitch in the 2006 Mexican League playoffs.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals were impressed enough to buy Salas' contract from Saltillo in February 2007. He reported for Spring training in Jupiter, Florida, remaining there for the entire season with the Cardinals High-A ball affiliate Palm Beach Cardinals. He advanced through the minor league system, playing for the Double-A Springfield Cardinals in 2008 and Triple-A Memphis Redbirds for the 2009 season. Salas began 2010 in Memphis but was called up to the majors for the first time on May 27, 2010. He made his major league debut the next day, pitching one scoreless inning. In 2011, he replaced Ryan Franklin as the Cardinals' closer, earning 24 saves in 68 appearances with a 2.28 ERA. Salas began the 2012 season with St. Louis, but after going 0-3 with a 6.32 ERA in 18 games, he was optioned to Triple-A Memphis. It was later learned that Salas had been hampered by a kidney stone, and once that medical situation passed he returned to St. Louis later in the season. He finished the 2012 season with a record of 1-4, 60 strikeouts, and a 4.30 ERA.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
New York Mets
On August 31, the Angels traded Salas to the New York Mets for minor league pitcher Erik Manoah. He debuted for the club on September 1, pitching a scoreless inning against the Miami Marlins at Citi Field. On February 15, 2017, Salas signed a one-year contract with the Mets.
Salas and his girlfriend, Daniela, are parents of a son, Fernando, born during 2012 spring training. He is being raised in Mexico. It is not a situation to Salas' liking: "Other Latin players have a lot of family in America. For me, it didn't happen. It's a little difficult because my family doesn't know any English. But they know it's work. They know it's a profession" and "I love the opportunity. I want to do everything I can to stay here."
Awards and honors
- 2006 Mexican League mid-season All-Star
- 2008 Texas League mid-season Al-Star
- 2008 Futures Game selection
- 2008 Texas League post-season All-Star
- 2008 Baseball America Double-A All-Star
- 2010 PCL Pitcher of the Week
- 2010 PCL mid-season All-Star
- 2010 MLB.com Organization All-Star
- 2011 World Series Championship
- Langosch, Jenifer (September 28, 2012). "From Mexico to St. Louis, Salas seizing opportunity". MLB.com via Cardinals team website. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- Lohse Down, Salas Up, Shock Troops In
- Walton, Brian (May 26, 2012). "Fick replaces Salas in bumpy Cards bullpen". The Cardinal Nation.
- "Fernando Salas – Stats". Sports Illustrated.com. 2012. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- "Cards get Bourjos from Angels for Freese". MLB.com. November 22, 2013.
- "Mets acquire Fernando Salas from Angels for Erik Manoah". Washington Post. Associated Press. August 31, 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- Guardado, Maria (September 2, 2016). "Newly acquired Fernando Salas makes Mets debut vs. Marlins". NJ.com. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- Macklin, Oliver (February 15, 2017). "Mets finalize deal to bring back Salas". MLB.com. Retrieved February 15, 2017.
- Langosch, Jenifer (May 11, 2012). "Cards' new dads praise hard work of mothers". MLB.com. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
- "Organization All-Stars". MILB.com. November 16, 2012.