Rick Ankiel is Considering a Comeback

Featured Image via Flickr/Barbara moore

39-year-old Rick Ankiel is reportedly considering a comeback attempt as a pitcher.

Ankiel has one of the more interesting stories in the history of baseball. He was originally a pitcher, then was injured, then ineffective, so he transitioned to an outfielder. Now, the lefty wants to come back as a pitcher again!

He was drafted in the second round (70th overall pick) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1997. He swiftly made his way up to the big leagues, debuting as a 20-year-old in August of 1999.

Ankiel had success on the mound during his cup-of-coffee in ’99. He threw 33 innings in 9 games (5 starts), spinning a 3.27 ERA and 10.64 K/9 over that span.

He backed that up with a good year in 2000. In 31 games (30 starts), Ankiel tossed 175 innings and compiled an 11-7 record with a 3.50 ERA, he earned a 3.4 fWAR.

He performed poorly in 2001 in six appearances, and then he got injured. He did not play again in the big leagues until 2004 and was similarly ineffective. He had a 5.40 ERA in just ten innings out of the bullpen.

Ankiel then scrapped pitching and decided to become an outfielder. He made his debut as an outfielder for the Cardinals in 2007 at the age of 27 and he was productive in 47 games. Ankiel slashed .285/.328/.535 (119 wRC+). He hit 11 homers in just 190 plate appearances.

He hit similarly well over a more complete season in 2008. He slashed .264/.337/.506 (120 wRC+).

He struggled in 2009 and became a free agent, signing a one-year contract with the Kansas City Royals, who traded him at the trade deadline with Kyle Farnsworth to the Atlanta Braves for Gregor Blanco, Jesse Chavez, and Tim Collins. He was pretty good in Kansas City, but it didn’t carry over to Atlanta (.784 OPS in KC, .651 OPS in ATL).

He played back to back seasons with the Washington Nationals and was not good in either of them. He signed with the Houston Astros in 2013 and was released by mid-May before making his last stop as a Met, where he played 20 games and hit below .200 before being released in June of the same season.

Ankiel hasn’t played professional baseball since then, but that doesn’t mean his story isn’t one of the coolest ones around. I doubt he makes it back to any sort of notoriety if he does pursue this comeback as a pitcher, but he’s proven people wrong before!

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