Former Baylor RHP Shawn Tolleson has put up some incredible numbers in one and a half seasons pitching in the Los Angeles Dodgers' minor league system since being drafted in the 30th round in 2010. On Thursday, the Dodgers recognized Tolleson's accomplishments, naming him the organization's Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
Only 15 months after being drafted, Shawn Tolleson is well on his way to the Major Leagues.
Tolleson's numbers from 2011 look like they were earned in a video game. In 57 combined relief appearances between Class A Great Lakes, Advanced A Rancho Cucamonga and Double-A Chattanooga, Tolleson went 7-2 with 25 saves and a 1.17 ERA in 69.0 innings. Perhaps most impressive, he struck out 105 batters and issued just 18 walks.
It's no surprise Tolleson had a strong season in his first full year of minor league ball. In his first season as a pro in 2010, Tolleson went 1-1 with a 0.63 ERA and a Pioneer League record 17 saves in only 26 games for the Class-A Short Season Ogden Raptors. He struck out 39, walked just five and held opposing batters to a .175 batting average with Ogden.
That performance elevated him to the Class A Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League to start 2011. In 14 games with Great Lakes, Tolleson went 1-0 with 10 saves, a 0.00 ERA, 33 strikeouts and only four walks. He allowed only eight hits in 15.0 innings of work, limiting opponents to a .154 batting average.
Tolleson was quickly promoted to the Advanced-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, where he needed just five outings to show he was ready for the next level. He went 2-0 with a 0.93 ERA, three saves, 17 strikeouts and three walks in 9.2 innings. Combined with his time in Odgen and Great Lakes, Tolleson posted 30 saves in 45 outings, struck out 89 and walked only 12 in 53.1 innings of work in Class A.
The biggest test came when Tolleson made the jump to the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts of the Southern League, where he would face a whole different class of players. While his numbers weren't quite as insane, he was still dominant. In 38 outings, Tolleson went 4-2 with a 1.62 ERA, 12 saves, 55 strikeouts and only 11 walks in 44.1 innings.
His performance in 2011 should be enough to earn him an invite to Major League spring training in 2012, and there's a strong chance that if he doesn't open the season in the Dodgers bullpen, he'll likely be only one step away with the Triple-A Albuquerque Isatopes in the Pacific Coast League.
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