Mongtomery's Mitch Talbot capped a memorable 2006 campaign with a pair of brilliant postseason starts, earning MiLB.com's Double-A Playoff Performer of the Year Award.
The 23-year-old right-hander delighted Biscuits' fans on Sept. 9, when he struck out 14 and tossed a five-hitter in a 2-0 blanking of the Hunstville Stars.
Five days later, he twirled another five-hitter and fanned 10 in a 7-0 victory.
"Everything was working," Talbot said of his postseason run. "I was really hitting my spots."
It was a feeling Talbot experienced quite often this season after the Devil Rays acquired him in a July 11 trade that sent Aubrey Huff to the Houston Astros.
Talbot quickly established himself as one of the Southern League's top pitchers, going 4-3 with a 1.90 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings. He went 28-29 with a 3.73 ERA during three seasons in the Astros' system.
"It was really shocking," he said of the trade. "Everybody
wants to get to the big leagues with the team that drafted them."
After a few weeks with his new teammates and coaching staff, Talbot settled in and focused on pitching.
"It's still baseball," he said.
That take-it-as-it-comes attitude served Talbot well in his two playoff outings. While he said all his pitches were working in his first start, he had trouble with his location in the second.
"I thought I was throwing better the first game," he said. "I didn't have my best curve (in the second playoff start)."
So he adjusted, utilizing his low- to mid-90s fastball and
relying on his defense. It was an approach that paid
dividends for Talbot and the Biscuits.
"The outfielders seemed to track down every ball, the infielders knocked everything down," said Talbot. "The defense was awesome."
Talbot's performance wasn't shabby, either.