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Todd Van Poppel
Pitcher
Born: December 9, 1971 (1971-12-09) (age 38)
Hinsdale, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 11, 1991 for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 2004 for the Cincinnati Reds
Career statistics
Win-Loss     40-52
Earned run average     5.58
Strikeouts     711
Teams

Todd Matthew Van Poppel (born December 9, 1971 in Hinsdale, Illinois) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Oakland Athletics (1991, 1993-1996), Detroit Tigers (1996), Texas Rangers (1998, 2002-2003), Pittsburgh Pirates (1998), Chicago Cubs (2000-2001), and Cincinnati Reds (2003-2004). He retired during spring training with the New York Mets in 2005.

Contents

Amateur career

Van Poppel was 11-3 with a 0.97 ERA and 170 strikeouts as a senior at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas. He was drafted in the first round, 14th overall, by the Athletics directly out of high school in 1990. The Atlanta Braves had seriously considered using their No. 1 overall selection on the highly touted pitcher. But because Van Poppel explicitly told the Braves he would not sign with them, the team opted instead to take shortstop (and later third baseman) Chipper Jones.[1]

Professional career

Van Poppel was the first of four starting pitchers selected by the A's in the first 36 picks of the 1990 draft, referred to at the time as "The Four Aces". The other three draftees were Don Peters, Dave Zancanaro and Kirk Dressendorfer. All four struggled with injuries after being drafted, and only Van Poppel and Dressendorfer ever reached the major leagues.[1]

Because Van Poppel was signed to a major league contract rather than the standard minor league contract, the A's only had a limited number of minor league options they could use on him. By all accounts, his lack of seasoning in the minors cost both the A's and Van Poppel. He pitched just 37.2 innings in Single-A in 1990, spent 1991 at Double-A Huntsville, and was hurt for much of 1992 at Triple-A Tacoma before splitting time between Oakland and Tacoma in 1993. In all, he made only 32 minor league starts.[2][3]

Armed with a blazing fastball that had little movement, Van Poppel struggled with the A's -- his best season in Oakland was probably 1995, when he went 4-8 with a 4.88 ERA, splitting time as a starter and a reliever. He also notched 122 strikeouts (and 56 walks) in 138.1 innings that year.

In 1996, his numbers dropped sharply, and he was released by the A's mid-season. After unremarkable stops in Detroit, Texas and Pittsburgh, Van Poppel did have two successful years (2000 and 2001) as a middle reliever with the Cubs, before his effectiveness declined.

Van Poppel's career record was 40-52. He never won more than seven games in a season.

Retirement

Shortly after his retirement from baseball in 2005, Van Poppel announced he was investing in the Denton Outlaws, a Texas Collegiate League team. The Outlaws went on to win the league championship that year.[4]

References

External links

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