By Chris Luttig
Former Milwaukee Brewers prospect Cody Scarpetta (Rockford Guilford) is back on the field, “Barnstorming” his way back to affiliated baseball with the Lancaster (Pa.) Barnstormers of the Atlantic League.
The Atlantic League is an eight-team independent league. More than 40 percent of the players have major league service time under their belt.
The Atlantic League has drawn national coverage as of late because of former NBA star Tracy McGrady attempting to begin a pitching career at the age of 34 with the Sugarland Skeeters.
The Skeeters also made national headlines last season as 50-year-old Roger Clemens took to the mound pitching in a couple of starts to his son Kody Clemens, a former Blue Jays farmhand.
Scarpetta (0-1) is off to a strong start on the mound. In his first two games, he is carrying a 1.80 ERA. His fastball has regained the velocity and late sinking movement that made him a Brewers top prospect, after missing the entire season in 2012 and briefly appearing in the 2013 season after Tommy John surgery.
While the Atlantic League is known for high-scoring, high-powered baseball, the hitters are struggling to make contact against Scarpetta. His last start Sunday, May 4, against the Somerset Patriots, was a dominating performance. He only allowed one hit over six innings of work to the Patriots, a team that the previous two days put up 15 runs on 26 hits.
If Scarpetta can work out his control and lower his walks per nine innings, it looks as if he is on track to getting back to affiliated ball in no time.
Scarpetta’s career has been very up and down. A top prospect in the organization, he was selected in the 11th round of the 2007 MLB draft, passing up a scholarship to Creighton University. He made an impressive debut in 2008, averaging a 15.5 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate in the Arizona rookie league, followed with a 13.5 strikeout-per-nine-innings rate with Helena, the Brewers’ Rookie League affiliate.
In 2009, Scarpetta continued his ascent with a strong season in the Midwest League and received one start for Hunstville, the AA affiliate, at only 20 years of age.
Scarpetta was called up to the major league roster for one day in 2011, but did not pitch and was reassigned to Huntsville.
Scarpetta’s 2012 season was a complete loss to Tommy John surgery and the long rehab process. In 2013, he struggled in his comeback from surgery, going 0-5 with a 2.147 WHIP.
Control concerns, which have plagued Scarpetta’s career, took their toll in 2013, with his walks per nine innings jumping to 9.5 and his strikeout-to-walk rate slipping to 0.69, leading to his eventual release in the offseason.
Scarpetta looks to build on his strong start to the 2014 campaign and improve on his control as he takes the bump this weekend against the Long Island Ducks … on the road back to the show!
Posted May 9, 2014