Saupold gets his first chance in American pro ball. (SMP Images/ Theron Kirkman)
PERTH, 25 January - Perth starting pitching standout Warwick Saupold has agreed to a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers, adding to the Australian presence in that organisation. His Heat teammate, closer Brendan Wise, was drafted by the Tigers in 2005 and spent the last seven seasons with the organisation. In addition, Sydney's Chris Oxspring and Brad Thomas have both spent time with the club, as Thomas has pitched there at the MLB level the past two seasons.
The 'Alcohol Think Again' Perth Heat right-hander has been the ABL's best and most consistent hurler all season, leading the league in innings pitched (70.0) and posting a record-setting 1.41 ERA. He struck out 53 and allowed just 43 hits and two home runs, while issuing 22 walks.
Saupold has made great strides this season, improving his ERA from a 5.52 mark last year. His batting average against has dropped from .282 in 2010/11 to an incredible .173 in the current campaign.
No doubt his improvement had impressed scouts, as the Tigers have awarded Saupold with his first American professional contract. The Heat ace just celebrated his 22nd birthday on 16 January and, with this news, can continue the partying mood. He and his teammates begin their quest to repeat as Claxton Shield champions.
Saupold and the Heat begin their series at home against the Jet Couriers Melbourne Aces on Australia Day at 2:00PM. In the other Round One series, the Adelaide ETSA Bite will host the Sydney Blue Sox, also beginning on Thursday, at 6:30PM.
This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.