Twins Birthdays--March 17
by, 03-17-2013 at 04:16 PM (158 Views)
Also posted at wgom.org.
John Smiley (1965)
Dan Masteller (1968)
Scott Downs (1976)
Left-hander John Patrick Smiley pitched for the Twins in 1992. He was born in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania and went to high school in Graterford, Pennsylvania. He was drafted by Pittsburgh in the twelfth round in 1983. He struggled early in his minor league career and was moved to the bullpen in 1986. He had a very good year in relief, posting an ERA of 3.10 and a WHIP of 1.16 in 90 innings in Class A. That got him a September call-up, and the next year he stayed in the majors, never going back to AA or AAA. Smiley was used in relief in 1987 and did not do a whole lot, but he joined the starting rotation in 1988 and stayed in a major league rotation for ten years. He was in the Pirates' rotation through 1991. His last year with Pittsburgh was his best, as Smiley went 20-8, 3.08 in 207.2 innings. He made his first all-star appearance that year, finished third in Cy Young voting, and was fourteenth in MVP balloting. In March of 1992, Smiley was traded to the Twins for Midre Cummings and Denny Neagle. He had an excellent year for the Twins, going 16-9, 3.21 with a 1.12 WHIP and setting a career high with 241 innings. He became a free agent after the season and signed with Cincinnati. Smiley struggled in 1993, dealing with both injuries and ineffectiveness. He bounced back in 1994 and had three consecutive years with ERAs under four and WHIPs under 1.30. He made the all-star team for the second time in 1995 He had a poor year in 1997, and an injury shortly after his mid-season trade to Cleveland led Smiley to retire after the 1997 season. John Smiley was never a superstar, but he was a solid rotation starter for several years. At last report, he was living in Collegeville, Pennsylvania.
First baseman/outfielder Dan Patrick Masteller was with the Twins for a little over half of the 1995 season. He was born in Toledo, attended Michigan State, and was drafted by Minnesota in the eleventh round in 1989. He did not show much power in the minors, but hit over .300 for three consecutive years, most of which were in AAA Salt Lake. He was in the third of those years when he was brought up to Minnesota in late June of 1995. The left- handed hitter was used almost exclusively against right-handed pitching, sharing first base with Scott Stahoviak and also playing a little corner outfield. Masteller played in 71 games that season, getting 198 at-bats. He hit .237/.303/.343 with three homers and 21 RBIs. Released after the season, he was signed by Montreal and again hit for a high average in AA, but apparently no one was impressed; he was let go in mid-season and finished the year in the independent North Atlantic League. 1996 was to be Masteller's last season in organized baseball. At last report, Dan Masteller was living in Akron, Ohio and was a senior vice president with CB Richard Ellis, a real estate investment broker which proclaims itself "the global leader in real estate services."
Left-hander Scott Jeremy Downs did not play for the Twins, but was in their farm system briefly in 1999. Born and raised in Louisville, he attended the University of Kentucky and was drafted by the Cubs in the third round in 1997. He pitched pretty well in their system for two seasons, but in November of 1998 he was the player to be named later in the deal that sent Mike Morgan to the Cubs. He pitched 19.2 innings in New Britain and 9.2 innings in Ft. Myers, doing poorly for the former and well for the latter, when he was sent back to the Cubs on May 21 of 1999 along with Rick Aguilera for Kyle Lohse and Jason Ryan. He made the Cubs starting rotation at the start of the 2000 season, but did not do well and was traded to Montreal at the July trading deadline for Rondell White. He made one start for the Expos and then went down with an injury, missing the entire 2001 season. He spent most of the next three years in the minors, making one major league start in 2003 and 12 in 2004. After that season, he was released by the then Washington franchise and signed with Toronto. He started the season in the minors but made it back to the big leagues for good in mid-May of 2005 and began a transition to the bullpen. He began pitching better immediately, and started pitching really well as a LOOGY in 2007. He was a free agent after the 2010 season, signed with the Angels, and continued to pitch well. From 2007-2012, Downs has appeared in 379 games and pitched 334 innings. He is 17-17 with 25 saves, an ERA of 2.32, and a WHIP of 1.16. Last year was the worst of those years, but he still posted an ERA of 3.15 and a WHIP of 1.31. He's 37 today. It's possible last year signaled a decline that will have in out of baseball soon, but it's at least equally possible that Scott Downs can continue as a LOOGY for several more years.