Monday, August 20, 2007


Here's a question that's not particularly begging to be asked: Who gave us the best pitching performance of last night?

The easy answer is Johan Santana, who pitched a masterful 8 shutout innings, giving up 2 hits and recording a franchise record 17 strikeouts.

But let me present the case for someone you may not have heard as much about: Vincent Anthonia. Name ring a bell? While it might not right now, you should probably keep it in mind for the next month.

Anthonia is the best (I can only assume) pitcher of the Pabao Little League team from Curacao, the Caribbean representative to the Little League World Series. He gave the type of pitching performance we haven't seen since the days of Danny Almonte.

Against a less-than-formidable Saudi Arabian team, Anthonia pitched a complete game, one-hit shutout. To boot, he threw a total of 80 pitches, 54 for strikes, to amass a total of 15 strike outs.

15 strikeouts in 6 innings? That's borderline ridiculous. It translates to a 22.5 K/9. Moreover, he worked a 9-pitch 6th, striking out 2, so I'm thinking he could have gone much longer if he wanted to. If a Little League game was 9 innings long, I have no doubt that he would challenge the Kerry Wood/Roger Clemens record of 20 K's in a game.

What's more is that Anthonia did not rely solely on his blazing 70 mph fastball, which from 46 feet out, is the equivalent of a 92 mph zipper at the major league level: not too fast for a Major League player, but a lot for a little leaguer to catch up to. His out pitch was his devastating backdoor breaking ball, which completely befuddled the kids from Saudi Arabia.

I'm not sure if Anthonia is going to have any Almonte-esque issue, but he's only 5-3 and 111 pounds, so I'm assuming that he's legit. He'll be something to keep an eye on for the rest of this tournament and maybe in 6 years he'll be playing for the Southern Illinois Miners or something.

[edit] I have since learned that this isn't even that great of a game by Little League standards. On Saturday, Garrett Williams out of Lubbock, TX recorded the first 17 outs of the game via the K before having to leave the game with one out to go because of the pitch count rule. Way to go.

I guess I have to give the award to Santana then. Bravo.