One season removed from Tommy John surgery, pitcher Wilmer Font received his first promotion to the big leagues over the weekend, when he was called up by the Texas Rangers. Font becomes the 113th former Hickory Crawdads player become a major leaguer.
Font, a native of La Guiara, Venezuela, was signed by the Rangers as a free agent in 2006. He joined the Crawdads in 2009 pitched for Hickory all of that season and part of 2010.
In 2009, Font was 8-3 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 games, 24 of those starts. He struck out 105 batters in 108.1 innings. The highlight of his season came in a three-start stretch from July 2-15. In 15.2 innings, he allowed no runs on only six hits and four walks, and struck out 12 batters.
The next season, Font started seven games for the Crawdads, going 4-1 with a 5.16 ERA, striking out 33 in 29.2 innings. In his first start that season on April 10 at Hagerstown, Font allowed a run on five hits in five innings with eight strikeouts. After a promotion to High-A Bakersfield he pitched briefly for the Blaze before elbow inflammation ended his season and led to ligament replacement surgery.
He was added to the Rangers 40-man roster after the 2011 season and returned to the hill with High-A Myrtle Beach in April where he struck out 109 batters in only 83.1 innings this season.
He received a mid-season promotion to AA- Frisco and has dominated in the bullpen. In ten relief outings with the RoughRiders, Font was 2-0 with one save and struck out 29 hitters in only 15 innings. In his final outing with Frisco in the Texas League Championship Series, he stuck out five of the six batters he faced.
Font is expected to provide bullpen depth for the Rangers over the final two weeks of the season.
PROMOTION BY THE NUMBERS:
Font is the 113th former player to receive a big league promotion.
He is the 11th former player to receive a first-time promotion in 2012. Only two other seasons had more first-time promotions: 2005 (14) and 2004 (12).
Of the 113 former players to hit the big leagues, 62 were pitchers.
Font is the 12th former Crawdads player to play for Texas, with six of those coming from the Crawdads current affilation.
He is the 5th player from the 2009 team to make it to the majors. (Cody Eppley, Font, Mark Hamburger, Martin Perez, Joe Wieland).
He is the 4th player from the 2010 team to make it to the majors (Font, Josh Lueke, Robbie Ross, Joe Wieland).
He is the 27th player out of 154 players to play in Hickory for two seasons that would later play in the big leagues.
He is the 7th native of Venezuela to play in Hickory that would later make it to the majors. (Jose Castillo, Font, Magglio Ordonez, Martin Perez, Liu Rodriguez, Romulo Sanchez and Danny Sandoval.)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.